What Are the Different Types of Culinary Schools?

Learn where to find information on accreditation and rankings for culinary schools. Find out about program types and professional certification options. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Individuals interested in culinary arts often get their training through certificate programs and associate's degree programs. Program completion is possible in 1-2 years, with some programs that can be completed in less than one year.

Are All Culinary Schools the Same?

Culinary education can take place at different types of institutions. These can include technical schools, community colleges, 4-year colleges, independent culinary institutes or culinary arts schools. It's up to you to determine the program that suits your needs. There are several options you might use to help you select a school.

The National Center for Education Statistics reports that over 130 schools offer training in the culinary arts, culinology or related areas. Some schools present programs in cooperation with independent culinary institutes.

The National Restaurant Association offers an online directory that contains over 1,000 postsecondary schools that offered programs in restaurant or hospitality management. The list also contained the names of hundreds of independent culinary schools.

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) contains a list of traditional degree-granting schools that offer programs pertaining to the culinary arts, as well as a list of institutes and centers that offer non-degree granting culinary programs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the armed forces and apprenticeship programs are also good sources for culinary training. Trade unions sponsor apprenticeship programs in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, and you can also find apprenticeship programs by way of the ACF. In addition, some hotels, restaurants and country clubs may offer their own apprenticeship programs.

What Are Certificate Programs Like?

You can find a certificate program at a community college, culinary school or technical school. Depending on the institution, the program can consist of 28-47 credit hours and take you 12-18 months to complete. Typical courses may include principles of food preparation, sanitation and safety, baking and pastry, nutrition and menu planning. In addition to labs and classroom instruction, schools often give you the opportunity to participate in for-credit internships

Which Schools Offer Certificates in Culinary Arts?

Certificate programs in this field are offered from culinary arts schools, in addition to 4-year institutions. With an accelerated program, you can get your certificate in 30 weeks.

  • Le Cordon Bleu offers a Culinary Arts Certificate.
  • The Culinary Institute of America offers an Accelerated Culinary Arts Certificate Program.
  • Boston University offers a Certificate in the Culinary Arts.

Is There a Common Degree Program?

An associate's degree is among the most sought-after educational program in the field of culinary arts. Depending on the school, it can take you 18-24 months to complete a 60-67 credit program. This is often due to the fact that some schools present their program in a fast-track format, increasing the intensity of the training. In addition to general education and culinary arts courses, a typical associate's degree program may consist of courses in business communication, contemporary cuisine, nutrition, hospitality industry fundamentals, dining room service and purchasing. Generally, schools require you to participate in an externship as well.

Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees in Culinary Arts?

Associate's degrees in culinary arts are available from a variety of schools. When considering a program, you'll have plenty of options to choose one that suits you best.

  • The Culinary Institute of America offers an Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) in Culinary Arts degree program.
  • Southern New Hampshire University offers an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program in Culinary Arts.
  • The Community College of Philadelphia offers an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in culinary arts.

Can I Pursue Courses Online?

Although somewhat rare, some schools do offer online culinary courses. The ACF offers online courses in food safety and hazard analysis. It also features online courses to prepare you for various certifications. Certifications are available through the ACF and are entirely voluntary. Designations such as certified culinarian (CC), certified sous chef (CSC) or personal certified chef (PCC) may enhance your employment or advancement possibilities. Certification preparatory courses and the examinations themselves are available online.

Which Schools Offer Online Courses in Culinary Arts?

Various online courses are available through culinary schools. Students can earn certificates and undergraduate degrees through these types of programs.

  • The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers an online Certificate in Culinary Arts.
  • New England Culinary Institute offers an Online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in culinary arts.
  • Le Cordon Bleu offers related online programs leading to an Associate Degree in Culinary Operations; an Associate Degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management; and a Bachelor's Degree in Culinary Management.

Culinary schools offer certificates, associate's degrees, and even bachelor's degrees for interested students. Four-year schools and community colleges also make programs available in culinary arts. Online courses and programs are sometimes offered as well.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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