Culinary Schools in Santa Barbara, CA with Degree Program Info

There are two schools within roughly 40 miles of Santa Barbara, California, that offer culinary arts degree and certificate programs. Read an overview of these schools' programs, requirements, and admission info and find out which school is the right one for you.

Santa Barbara-Area Culinary School Options

The Santa Barbara area has just two schools that offer culinary training. Both are within a 50-minute drive of the city center. This article profiles both schools and the culinary arts programs they offer. A table of useful information, including costs, enrollment, and graduation rates, is also included, and prospective students can use it to compare the two schools.

  • In the heart of Santa Barbara, just about a mile from downtown, is Santa Barbara City College, which provides students with several certificate and competency award programs, as well as an associate degree program.
  • About 41 miles down the coast in the larger city of Oxnard is Oxnard College. This community college offers certificate and associate degree programs in the culinary arts.

Comparison of Schools

The following table offers pertinent information about these schools. Students can use it to make an informed decision about their education.

Santa Barbara City College Oxnard College
School Type Public, 2-year Public, 2-year
Total Enrollment (Fall 2017) 16,385* 7,451*
Campus Setting Small city Midsize city
Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $1,374 in-state; $8,326 out-of-state* $1,388 in-state; $7,050 out-of-state*
% of First-Year, Full-Time Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 40%* 87%*
Acceptance Rate N/A - Open admissions* N/A - Open admissions*
Retention Rate (2017) 60% for full-time students; 51% for part-time students* 69% for full-time students; 50% for part-time students*
Graduation Rate (students who began in fall 2014) 35%* 24%*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

Santa Barbara City College

Located on the coast of California, SBCC's School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management can prepare students to pursue culinary careers. The school awards $500-$1,500 scholarships each semester.

Skills Competency Award in Baking and Pastry

This program consists of eight units and four classes. Areas covered include sanitation and safety, baking basics, artisan breads, and advanced pastry arts.

Skills Competency Award in Personal Chef Training

Eight units and four classes also comprise this certificate program. Sanitation and safety, baking basics, culinary basics, and wines are taught.

Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts

Students must complete a 53- to 55-unit, four-semester program to earn this certificate. The first semester includes introductory and sanitation/safety courses. Some of the second-semester courses cover food service and pastries. Classes offered in the third semester provide instruction on wines and nutrition, among other areas. The fourth semester consists of advanced classes on topics such as food design, bread, and meat. Students are also required to complete an industry work experience prior to graduating. By the end of the program, students should have working knowledge of the various roles in a restaurant and be able to pursue careers as professional bakers or cooks.

Associate in Science in Culinary Arts

To receive this associate's degree, students are required to complete the same core culinary arts requirements as outlined in the certificate program. However, they also must meet the college's general education requirements. Additionally, all culinary students enroll in a work experience unit where they practice their skills and gain industry experience in a kitchen outside of the school.

Oxnard College

Oxnard College is located on the coast in Ventura County - between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. The college's culinary arts and restaurant management program trains students for careers as cooks, bakers, and other related professions.

Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts

This certificate program consists of 37.5 units and eight courses. Some of the classes include menu management, gourmet techniques, and hospitality. Students can also take two optional courses in nutrition and supervision, which allows them to work towards certification from the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute.

Associate in Science in Culinary Arts

Students in this program are required to take all of the same courses as students enrolled in the certificate program, but they also must meet the school's general education requirements. Classes cover topics such as sanitation, food preparation, baking, and service. Additionally, students can progress towards certification from the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute by taking two additional courses on nutrition and supervision.

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