Best Online Culinary Degrees

Updated January 13, 2023

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A ranking of the most affordable online culinary degrees. Programs ranked by affordability, flexibility, and academic quality. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Although some workplaces do not require chefs to have a degree, most restaurants these days like to see chefs with basic certifications. A Culinary degree is a basic degree for chefs. Through culinary programs, students will learn basic kitchen operations, history of major cuisines, cooking techniques, and health and safety procedures.

A Culinary degree is not only a great way for people to move up in their career but is also a way to gain hands-on work experience. Because most programs require students to work in a kitchen before graduation, students can grow their connections within the field and gain confidence in their cooking abilities. Culinary degrees are offered via vocational schools, community colleges, and four-year colleges.

What can you do with a Culinary degree?

A degree in Culinary opens one up to a variety of careers. Other than becoming a chef, those with this degree can become restaurant managers in independent chains or at hotels, food and beverage directors, or food stylists for food magazines or other promotions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs for chefs and head cooks with grow nine percent between the years of 2014 and 2024.

Other related culinary careers include, but are not limited to:

  • Caterer
  • Nutritionist
  • Food Scientist
  • Cooking Instructor
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What kind of Culinary degree should you get?

Culinary programs are taught at the Associate's, Bachelor's, and Master's levels. An Associate's degree is a two-year program that is partially composed of general education classes in addition to basic chef courses.

Although some entry-level jobs only require an Associate's, a Bachelor's is preferred for most full-time jobs. A Master's degree is for upper tier chefs and/or upper management positions such as food and beverage directors. An online Culinary degree is ideal for those who are already working and find traditional class schedules difficult.

Cross-reference this list with College Choice's ranking of the Most Affordable Online Colleges to make sure you enroll in the perfect program for you.

How much money do people make with a Culinary degree?

While chefs working for restaurants average about $43,750 annually, chefs working for performing arts companies earn an average of $69,150. Furthermore, an average salary for a sous chef is $44,627, a pastry chef is $33,000, and an executive chef earns an average of $69,494.

Experience is a major influencer of salary within the culinary field. As of March 2018, those in entry-level jobs can earn anywhere from $19,763 to $56,728 depending on job and location. A chef in their late career can earn anywhere from $24,522 to $61,042. Because the pay range is so large it is important to research specific career paths and workplace locations within the field.

What are the requirements for a Culinary degree?

Admission to culinary schools require a high school diploma or a GED. For some programs, a GPA of 2.5 or higher is recommended. For those whose first language isn't English, an English proficiency test score is also required. No other specific education or experience is necessary for an Associate's or Bachelor's degree.

During the actual program, in addition to taking a variety of classes, most Culinary degrees require students to participate in internships for a certain number of hours. Even those who take only online programs must take an internship in a cooking institution. These internships are a great way to grow one's resume and gain experience in an actual kitchen.

What are the most affordable online Culinary degrees?

Below is College Choice's list of the five most affordable online culinary degrees. While net tuition price was the deciding factor in this ranking, rest assured these are quality programs. All of these universities are regionally accredited.

We compiled data for this ranking from individual college websites, the National Center for Education Statistics' IPEDS database, Payscale, and the U.S. News & World Report.


See our rankings methodology page.

#1 Best Online Culinary Degrees

Johnson & Wales University-Providence

  • Providence, RI
  • 4 years
  • Campus

The bachelor's in culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales University-Providence prioritizes accessibility in its course options. The degree builds the knowledge and skills required for a variety of entry-level and mid-level careers. The degree also prepares graduates for master's-level programs, which open up additional career opportunities.

The curriculum covers introductory courses and advanced topics. Undergraduates also complete general education courses, gaining widely applicable skills such as writing, communication, and critical thinking. Degree candidates complement their major by selecting a minor or double majoring.

Student services support incoming degree candidates as they begin taking classes. For example, career counselors review job opportunities and connect students with employment opportunities.

Johnson & Wales University-Providence at a Glance:

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Type of School: Private

Admissions Rate: 93%

Undergrad Tuition In State: $33,054

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $33,054

Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes New England Commission on Higher Education

#2 Best Online Culinary Degrees

Nicholls State University

  • Thibodaux, LA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Nicholls State University enrolls learners in 32 bachelor's programs, including a bachelor of science in culinary arts. Graduates enter the workforce prepared for diverse careers with their degree. Degree-holders can also continue their education by applying to master's or doctoral programs.

The curriculum trains learners in the core principles and practices of culinary arts. General education classes emphasize key skills like writing, research, communication, and critical thinking. Students can gain interdisciplinary training by choosing a minor or second major.

The school's student services help incoming degree candidates make connections on campus and thrive in their program. For example, academic advisors work with enrollees to transfer credits into the school and select courses.

Nicholls State University at a Glance:

Location: Thibodaux, Louisiana

Type of School: Public

Admissions Rate: 88%

Total Online Bachelor's Programs: 9

Undergrad Tuition In State: $4,922

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $6,015

Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 Best Online Culinary Degrees

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix offers 25 bachelor's degrees, including a bachelor of applied science in food and nutrition entrepreneurship that stands out for its quality. Graduates can pursue entry-level careers in diverse industries. A bachelor's degree can also lead to higher education opportunities, including master's and doctoral programs.

The curriculum introduces major principles and practices in the culinary field. Undergraduates also strengthen writing, communication, and critical thinking skills through general education classes. Declaring a minor or double majoring helps students explore other interests.

The school's student services provide support for incoming degree candidates. For example, career counselors meet with learners to conduct career assessments and mock interviews.

Arizona State University-Downtown Phoenix at a Glance:

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Type of School: Public

Admissions Rate: 82%

Undergrad Tuition In State: $10,710

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $28,800

Average Tuition
Retention Rate
Admission Rate
Students Enrolled
Institution Type
Percent Online Enrollment
57% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Yes Higher Learning Commission

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