Culinary Teacher Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for culinary teachers. Get the facts about salary, degree requirements, certification and employment outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Culinary Teacher?

Culinary teachers provide training for individuals who want to pursue careers in the culinary arts. Usually, they work at community colleges or technical/vocational schools. Through both lecture coursework and hands-on kitchen training, culinary teachers educate students on the theory and practice of food preparation. They teach them to use kitchen equipment effectively to prepare many different dishes. They also show students how to strictly follow safety and sanitation procedures and apply business and management concepts in order to achieve professional success in the competitive food service and hospitality industries. Additionally, culinary teachers may teach basic cooking classes for community members who want to improve their skills.

The table below features some information to help you decide about this field.

Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Culinary arts
Key Skills Leadership, communication, attention to detail, organization
Certification Certification is optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% (for all vocational education teachers, postsecondary)*
Average Salary (2017) $49,470 (for all vocational education teachers, postsecondary)**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Programs Are Available for Culinary Teachers?

Most teachers at culinary arts schools have an associate's or bachelor's degree in culinary arts. You could enroll at a community college or culinary arts institute that specializes in this field. These degree programs teach the fundamentals of cooking, food safety and food service operations. You would work in a professional kitchen cooking cuisine from around the world with certified chef instructors.

What Certifications Are Available?

Industry certification not only demonstrates your expertise, but can also improve your career and salary outlook. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers two designations for culinary teachers, including Certified Secondary Culinary Educator (CSCE) and Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) (

To achieve CSCE certification, you need an associate's degree in culinary arts and 120 hours of coursework in education or a bachelor's degree in any subject, plus the same amount of education coursework. Regardless of the degree you have, you'll also need 1,200 hours of teaching experience. You must have an understanding of how to prepare a variety of food, including lobster, pork, chicken and dessert. Practical and written exams are also required to ensure that you have the knowledge and skills to educate students in the culinary arts.

CCE certification requirements are the same as the CSSE requirements, but you'll also need two years of experience as a chef de cuisine, which is a chef with supervisory experience. The ACF also requires candidates to produce a video documenting their teaching skills.

How Much Can I Earn?

How much you can earn depends on your education, experience and place of employment. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't have figures specific to culinary teachers, it did report a median salary of $49,470 for all postsecondary vocational education teachers in May 2015.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Another option for individuals who are passionate about culinary arts is a job as chef or head cook. These professionals play supervisory roles in restaurants and other food service establishments, ensuring the quality of the dishes, developing menus and managing kitchen staff. A similar option is a job as a food service manager. These professionals focus less on the culinary aspects of food service and more on restaurant operations and business. Neither chefs nor managers require postsecondary education, but they can benefit greatly from an associate's or bachelor's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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