How Much Does Culinary School Cost?

How Much Does Culinary School Cost?

December 10, 2020 Education 0

Most Americans enjoy a well-prepared meal dining at a wonderful restaurant.  Culinary School offers many individuals like to be a part of the preparation process to learn various food prep and presentation and kitchen management to study tips, tools, and techniques to turn dining out into an enjoyable experience.

It is important to note that not all programs, diplomas, and degrees are created equal. Earning an associate degree in Culinary Arts provides students all the necessary knowledge and skills combined with practical experience to obtain advanced-level positions in the restaurant and food-service industries. The curriculum focuses on various food-service aspects, including food preparation, cost and portion control, quantity baking and pastry, butchery and charcuterie fabrication, dining room operations, food purchasing, and menu formulation. Unlike working your way up in a specific dining concept, this allows you to learn industry-wide best practices and work with different chefs and restaurant professionals.  

Aspiring chefs may pursue formal training through culinary programs offered by community colleges, universities, and culinary institutes. Some chefs complete certificate programs that typically last a few months, while others earn 2-year associate’s or 4-year bachelor’s degrees. Culinary programs focus on in-class instruction and hands-on training in the kitchen. Courses commonly include safety and sanitation, baking and cooking techniques, food preparation, and nutrition. Depending on the program, students may be required to complete internship programs.

Jobs for chefs and head cooks were expected to increase by eleven percent from 2014-2028, according to the BLS. There is a high turnover rate for this occupation, but competition for the highest paying positions in fine dining and upscale establishments will be strong. Chefs and head cooks made an average salary of $52,160 annually in May 2018.

The tuition for a culinary diploma or culinary arts certificate varies in cost from $17,550 to $47,000. This can last between 7 and 12 months, covering a combination of 600-1,000 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction. Many programs like this are set up to provide an intensive seven to nine-month cuisine diploma program for $23,408. Included typically in your tuition are the extra costs such as a knife kit, a baking kit, uniforms, textbooks, and fees. A premium eight-month program at a recognized culinary institute covers classes that include more than 1,000 hours of hands-on and classroom instruction an externship at a five-star restaurant.  The cost for an associate’s degree in culinary arts from a two or four-year institution usually comes in at a range between $35,000 and $56,000.

Earning a certificate in Culinary Arts provides the core culinary foundation courses that prepare students for immediate entry into the workplace. Having this academic seal of approval can be an extra advantage for either the entry-level job hunter or those looking to be hired by a better concept or class of venue. Again, this allows you exposure to industry-wide best practices and be introduced to different chefs and restaurant professionals.  

A six-month baking and pastry arts certificate program provides a basis for students to learn specific skills and serve as a foundation for a career in baking and pastry. Coursework involves fundamental and advanced bakery and pastry skills while studying baking processes, techniques, safety, and sanitation. This study allows you to learn industry-wide best practices and work with different chefs and restaurant professionals. Some students may take this program, while other students will add this certification to either a certificate or diploma program.

A successful dining experience is not simply a matter of chance or good fortune. Rather, culinary management is studying how an operation functions from both a dining and a business experience.  It truly involves a combination of art and science. Knowing how both the back of the house (the kitchen) and the front of the house (the dining areas) work in harmony is crucial for any operation’s long-term success.  A restaurant can serve wonderful operations but fail miserably as a business enterprise. And we all seem to know of joints and a holes-in-the-wall that we wonder how they can be successful – but ultimately are so.

Many colleges and programs offer a full degree in Culinary Management for prospective students. Taking courses in culinary management can be the first step toward becoming an entrepreneur in the restaurant or catering business. It can improve your prospects to become a restaurant manager, sommelier, or personal chef. Coursework in this area explores how food and culture work together, hospitality law and safety regulations, restaurant design, and working successfully with wine and spirits. 

A Bachelor’s degree in Culinary and Dietary Operations Management is geared towards students with culinary industry experience interested in pursuing a formal degree that will prepare them for various leadership and management positions in both the food and nutrition industries. A good program will combine elements of both business coursework and science courses to broaden a student’s base of knowledge beyond culinary arts and improve their career prospects.

When looking at completing a bachelor of science degree as an option,  students should know if they first must achieve a foundation degree such as an associate degree in Culinary Arts from an American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) accredited college program. Once this is completed, prospective students may be eligible to gain admittance in a Culinary and Dietary Operations Management Bachelor of Science degree program. Students need to know that earning this higher degree is more than just completing a practicum.  As with most four-year college degrees, students should also expect to complete all core ability and bachelor degree general education requirements in addition to completing required bachelor’s degree courses. Professional-level American Culinary Federation (ACF) credentialed chefs interested in this education level will want to work directly with the advisors in the various culinary programs to explore further and understand all their options.