Becoming a Chef Instructor: Requirements, Salary & Description

Learn the paths to becoming a chef instructor. Research the requirements for the career, the job duties and the potential salaries to see if this is a good fit for you. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Chef instructors provide training for aspiring chefs in culinary schools, technical colleges and public schools. They generally need at least an associate's degree, experience in the field and certification within their state in order to give instruction. Our chart below offers a few more details on the career.

Typical Degree Associate's degree
Education Field of Study Culinary arts
Training Required Student-teaching program
Key Skills Communication, organization, patience
Licensure Required Required for public schools, requirements vary by state
Job Growth (2016-2026) 4% (for all career and technical education teachers)*
Median Salary (2019) $48,980**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Do Chef Instructors Do?

Chef instructors design curriculum, make lesson plans, guide classes and hand out assignments with the ultimate goal of teaching people how to be professional chefs. Because cooking is such a hands-on profession, chef instructors may teach food preparation and cooking techniques in a kitchen setting, showing students how to apply their classroom learning in a real-world situation. They are also responsible for monitoring their students' progress by speaking with them, creating tests and providing feedback on a regular basis.

How Do You Become a Chef Instructor?

If you're interested in becoming a chef instructor, you'd be well-served with a degree in the field. Some technical colleges and 4-year universities offer associate's and bachelor's degree programs that give instruction in the culinary arts. Once you've got a degree, it's a good idea to garner experience working in a restaurant or commercial kitchen. Doing so will help you perfect your craft and train you in the day-to-day duties the job requires. You may even help teach new hires, which will give you invaluable experience for becoming a chef instructor. Even with a degree and some years under your belt, you'll still need to get a teaching certificate.

How Do You Get a Certificate to Teach?

The American Culinary Federation governs certification for chef instructors. The ACF offers two certifications: the Certified Culinary Educator (CCE) and the Certified Secondary Culinary Educator (CSCE) certifications. The CCE allows a chef to teach at an accredited secondary (high school) or vocational institution, while the CSCE qualifies a chef instructor to teach at a postsecondary (e.g., college) institution or military training facility. Both require at least an associate's degree, a range of additional courses and a level of work experience.

How Much Do Chef Instructors Make?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported salary data for career and technical education teachers (the category under which chef instructors fall) back in May 2017. The BLS's figures put the median salary for all career and technical education teachers at $55,240 per year. Payscale.com, a site that gathers self-reported, anonymous salary data, offers statistics specifically for chef instructors. According to Payscale.com, the median annual salary for chef instructors as of 2019 was $48,980.

What's the Job Outlook?

While the BLS doesn't post numbers for chef instructors in particular, it does offer employment statistics for career and technical education teachers in general. Between 2016 and 2026, the BLS predicts a 4% rise in employment for career and technical education teachers. This is slightly lower than the average for all occupations, which is 7%.

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