Students who are interested in the culinary field can earn an associate's degree, bachelor's degree or undergraduate certificate in a relevant subject.
Culinary Vocational Schools
The following schools offer culinary programs:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition (2015-2016)*|
|Academy of Careers and Technology||Beckley, West Virginia||<2-year, Public||Certificate||$4,500|
|Bidwell Training Center Inc.||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||2-year, Private, not-for-profit||Diploma||$19,000|
|Erwin Technical College||Tampa, Florida||2-year, Public||Certificate|| $3,019 In-state
|Eastern Maine Community College||Bangor, Maine||2-year, Public|| Certificate
| $3,810 In-state
|H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College||Montgomery, Alabama||2-year, Public|| Certificate
| $4,074 In-state
|J. F. Drake State Community and Technical College||Huntsville, Alabama||2-year, Public|| Certificate
| $4,290 In-state
|Saint Augustine College||Chicago, Illinois||4-year, Private, not-for-profit||Associate's||$9,840|
|Southern University at Shreveport||Shreveport, Louisiana||2-year, Public||Associate's||$3,987|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Students who are considering culinary programs may want to take the following into consideration:
- It is important to consider the program's curriculum, since some programs emphasize specific aspects of the culinary field, such as hospitality management or baking and pastry arts. Students can choose between them based on their academic interests and career goals.
- Prospective students who are considering certificate and associate's degree programs may want to find out if credits can be applied toward higher level programs in the future.
- Students may want to look at the facilities and equipment available when choosing a culinary school to ensure that they get experience with industry-standard equipment and high-quality ingredients.
- Prospective students may want to look for programs that are accredited by the American Culinary Foundation Accrediting Commission.
Associate's Degree Programs
Associate's degree programs in culinary arts can lead to an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) or Associate of Occupational Science (AOS) degree. Students in these programs typically learn basic food preparation skills, as well as the fundamentals of restaurant management, such as menu development and sanitation procedures. In most programs, students also complete a practicum or externship in the field. General education coursework is also required. Most associate's degree programs take two years of full-time study to complete.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Four-year bachelor's degree programs in culinary arts begin with the same basic coursework as associate's degree programs, but they also delve deeply into the scientific, historical, cultural and business aspects of the food industry. Students may also participate in research projects and complete internships or cooperative experiences. Upon completion, graduates are prepared for leadership positions in the culinary field.
At some schools, certificate coursework mirrors that of associate's degree programs, but without the general education coursework. Students learn a broad range of fundamental culinary-related topics, from cooking techniques to nutritional considerations to food safety. Students may earn a certificate in a specialized topic within the field such as baking and pastry or cake decorating. These programs typically take one year or less to complete.
Many schools around the country offer vocational training in the culinary field. Students can decide between programs based on specialization options and onsite training facilities, among other considerations.