Pennsylvania Culinary Education Options

Jul 31, 2019

There are more than 20 public or private, not-for-profit schools in Pennsylvania that have culinary arts programs. Read an overview of the 10 largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which school is the right one for you.

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Essential Information

There are over 20 schools that provide culinary education in Pennsylvania. The range of program options includes certificate, associate's and bachelor's degree programs. Some of the majors include catering, baking and pastry arts, culinary arts and culinary science. Regardless of program, the curricula usually include a practical component for students to learn the field hands-on.

Career Requirements

The programs described include coursework that qualifies students to pass the ServSafe exam, which is required for food employee certification. Culinary programs generally require students to wear approved uniforms during kitchen labs. The schools' programs described below prepare students to enter the workforce in a variety of positions in commercial kitchen stations.


Bucks Community College

Newtown is where Bucks Community College offers a certificate program in pastry and catering arts and a chef apprenticeship program that confers an associate's degree and Journeyman Cook's papers from the United States Department of Labor upon successful completion of the program. The chef apprenticeship program requires 6,000 hours of supervised on-the-job training, as well as general education courses and culinary courses to fulfill associate's degree requirements. The chef's program provides a food emphasis or a pastry emphasis. The school also offers a 27-credit pastry and catering arts certificate program that covers menu planning and purchasing as well as pastry courses. This program prepares students to manage a catering business while developing proficiency in the pastry arts.

Community College of Allegheny County

Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh offers an associate's degree program in culinary arts. In addition to general education and culinary arts courses, students are required to complete 300 hours of hands-on experience in an externship. This program covers basic culinary arts theory and practice, sanitation and safety, garde manger, baking and business skills and menu planning and purchasing.

Community College of Philadelphia

Located in Philadelphia, Community College of Philadelphia offers a professional cooking proficiency certificate and an associate's degree in culinary arts. The 16-credit certificate program covers elementary cooking principles, preparation and practices, including elementary baking, quantity food preparation, American cuisine and advanced food preparation and finishing. The associate's degree program introduces students to principles and techniques of food production, nutrition and finishing, a variety of cuisines and requires 400 hours of work experience. This program has an optional apprenticeship, and the school will assist students with obtaining the required on-the-job training under a faculty member's supervision.

Drexel University

Boasting three professional kitchen laboratories and a full dining room at its campus in Philadelphia, Drexel University offers bachelor's degrees in culinary arts and culinary science and a master's degree program in food science. The bachelor's degree programs have optional minors in business, entrepreneurship and marketing. Culinary arts requirements include culinary techniques, professional baking, vegetarian cuisine, Italian cuisine, American cuisine, French cuisine and garde manger. Students also learn butchery, culture and gastronomy. The program provides a variety of courses in hospitality, management, accounting and customer service as well as a six-month co-op experience in partnership with local hotels and restaurants. The culinary science program focuses on chemistry and microbiology in association with culinary arts courses geared toward preserving, processing and packaging food. The master's degree program is a research-based advanced study program focusing on the effects that different foods have on the cells and physiological processes.

Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg

The Olewine School of Culinary Arts is located at the Harrisburg campus of Harrisburg Area Community College, offering a certificate program in baking and pastry arts and an associate's degree in culinary arts. The baking and pastry certificate program requires 31 credits in coursework that covers beginning to advanced baking and pastry arts. The associate's degree program is accredited by The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) and covers culinary arts, management, restaurant operations and food purchasing, receiving and storing. Graduates who are members of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) are awarded the Certified Culinarian credential. Students perfect their culinary arts at the off-campus restaurant. The complete program is only offered at the Harrisburg campus; however, some of the courses are available at the campuses in Lancaster, Lebanon and Gettysburg.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Academy of Culinary Arts offers ACF-accredited culinary arts and baking and pastry arts programs in Punxsutawney. The culinary arts certificate program is 16 months long and culminates in a paid externship. The baking and pastry arts program is an advanced-level program that has been awarded the highest level of accreditation by ACFEF and requires completion of the culinary arts program or an introductory baking arts program as a prerequisite. This program consists of 10 advanced baking and pastry courses and a four-month paid externship. The school also combines the two programs, offering them as a single certificate program. Credits from the Academy of Culinary Arts can be transferred to a bachelor's degree program in hospitality management, nutrition, dietetics or family and consumer science at IUP.

Luzerne County Community College

The Department of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Luzerne Community College in Nanticoke provides programs of study in culinary arts and pastry arts. The culinary arts programs include a 17-credit basic food production culinary arts diploma, a 31-credit culinary arts certificate and an associate's degree in culinary arts. There is also a 35-credit certificate in pastry arts and an associate's degree in pastry arts management. The certificate programs can be completed in nine months. The associate's degree programs add courses in hospitality and general education as well as a few more advanced culinary or baking and pastry courses.

Montgomery County Community College

The West campus of Montgomery County Community College in Pottstown is the home of the Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College. The Culinary Arts Institute provides an associate's degree in baking and pastry and an associate's degree in culinary arts that offers concentrations in professional culinary arts and professional baking and pastry arts. The school also offers a culinary certificate and a baking and pastry certificate. The facilities include four professional kitchens with state-of-the-art equipment and a retail café and bakeshop where students obtain hands-on experience in food preparation and customer service. In conjunction with ACFEF, the school also participates in a three-year apprenticeship program, providing the classroom instruction and kitchen lab coursework for apprentice chefs. Graduates of the apprenticeship program are qualified to sit for the Certified Culinarian or Certified Pastry Chef examinations.

Northampton County Area Community College

Northampton's culinary arts associate's degree program is provided at the Bethlehem campus. In addition to general education courses, students learn specialized diploma coursework in food safety and sanitation, product identification, baking, meat, poultry and fish cutting, entrées and vegetables and restaurant operations. The specialized diploma coursework is also offered as a stand-alone program. Students gain hands-on experience running the Hampton Winds fine dining restaurant.

Westmoreland County Community College

Westmoreland's Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality, located in Youngwood, offers certificate, associate's degree and associate's degree apprenticeship programs in culinary arts and in baking and pastry arts. The apprenticeship and associate's degree programs are accredited by the ACFEF Accrediting Commission. The apprenticeship programs provide roughly 45 credits of culinary-related coursework with 4,000 hours of supervised, on-the-job training. Graduates of the apprenticeship programs are qualified to apply for ACF certification. The school also offers diploma programs in culinary arts or baking and pastry that are roughly 42 to 46 credits and a 16-credit baking and pastry certificate.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Culinary Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)
Bucks Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Culinary/Pastry and Catering Arts Certificate,
Associate of Arts in Chef Apprenticeship and Journeyman Cook
$4,513 in-district; $8,353 in-state; $12,193 out-of-state*
Community College of Allegheny County 2-year, public; large city Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts $4,315 in-district; $7,861 in-state; $11,251 out-of-state*
Community College of Philadelphia 2-year, public; large city Professional Cooking Proficiency Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
$5,142 in-district; $10,284 in-state; $15,426 out-of-state*
Drexel University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts,
Bachelor of Science in Culinary Science,
Master of Science in Food Science
$53,244*
Harrisburg Area Community College - Harrisburg 2-year, public; small city Baking and Pastry Arts Certificate,
Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts
$6,683 in-district; $7,935 in-state; $9,435 out-of-state*
Indiana University of Pennsylvania 4-year, public; small town Certificate in Culinary Arts,
Certificate in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts,
Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts
$12,979 in-state; $18,730 out-of-state*
Luzerne County Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Culinary Arts Diploma,
Culinary Arts Certificate,
Pastry Arts Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts,
Associate in Applied Science in Pastry Arts Management
$5,430 in-district; $9,660 in-state; $13,890 out-of-state*
Montgomery County Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Culinary Certificate,
Baking and Pastry Certificate,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts with Concentrations in Professional Culinary Arts and Professional Baking and Pastry Arts,
Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts
$5,730 in-district; $10,350 in-state; $14,970 out-of-state*
Northampton County Area Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Diploma in Culinary Arts,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts
$4,380 in-district; $9,570 in-state; $14,100 out-of-state*
Westmoreland County Community College 2-year, public; large suburb Baking and Pastry Certificate,
Culinary Arts Certificate,
Baking and Pastry Diploma,
Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts,
Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry
$5,214 in-district; $9,348 in-state; $13,338 out-of-state*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

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