Best Culinary Art Degrees

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Are you ready to find your fit?

Learn. Create. Inspire. Prepare yourself for an exhilarating career in the fast-paced food industry with a Culinary Arts degree.If you’re passionate about food and like working with your hands—a degree in Culinary Arts is what you’re looking for.

In today’s food industry, demanding and discerning consumers are fueling the need for highly-trained, creative, and experienced chefs. Whether your career goals include owning your own business, working in a top restaurant, or just learning how to cook— a culinary arts program can help you live your dream.

What are the top 10 culinary art degrees?

Rank School Location
1 Culinary Institute Inc Houston, TX
2 The Culinary Institue of America Hyde Park, NY
3 Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts Boulder, CO
4 Paul Smiths College of Arts and Science Paul Smiths, NY
5 Johnson & Wales University Providence, RI
6 Keiser University Fort Lauderdale, FL
7 New England Culinary Institute Montpelier, VT
8 Hudson County Community College Jersey City, NJ
9 Kendall College Chicago, IL
10 SUNY College of Technology-Delhi Delhi, NY

What kind of Culinary Arts degree should you get?

If you want to do well in the culinary industry, you’ll need to find the right program.

Success in the food-service industry requires knowledge of proper culinary techniques, the ability to select the right ingredients, and the intangible passion for cooking.

You’ll also need to decide between a campus-based or online program. While most Culinary Arts programs are delivered in face-to-face format for obvious reasons, there are schools that offer high-quality online degrees and certificates in a wide range of culinary areas.

Online courses offer theoretical knowledge, and you’ll gain real-world experience through externships and practical assignments. If you’re interested, check out our Best Online Colleges and Universities.

How much money do people make with a Culinary Arts degree?

Looking for a career in a growth industry? Then look no further

. The food service industry is one of the fastest growing businesses in the nation.

In 2016, food and drink sales of the U.S. restaurant industry amounted to approximately 766 billion U.S. dollars. And demand for professional chefs is expected to grow 10% percent by the year 2023.

How much money you’ll make depends a lot on education and experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for chefs working in the U.S. as of May 2011 was $46,600. The top 10 percent of earners made $74,060 or more, while the lowest 10 percent made $24,770 or less.

In short, now is a great time to be trained for an artistically and financially rewarding culinary arts career.

What can you do with a degree in Culinary Arts?

Even if your culinary arts aspirations are fueled by the Food Network, you know that not everyone with a culinary arts degree will become a celebrity chef. A culinary arts program will help you figure out what area of culinary work you prefer.

And once you decide what kind of environment you want to work in, there are a wide variety of options to choose from— from personal chef to head chef or sous chef. Here are some other options:

  • Caterer
  • Restaurant cook
  • Executive chef
  • Food and beverage manager

What are the requirements for a degree in Culinary Arts?

Requirements for admission to Culinary Arts programs vary widely.

Schools on our list vary from community colleges to private Culinary Institutes. You’ll need to look closely at admissions pages on program websites to see what documents your favorite schools are requesting.

Some frequently requested admissions requirements include:

  • High school transcript or high school equivalency certification
  • Any other college or military transcripts
  • Some schools will require you to write an essay about yourself and your career goals.
  • If you are an international student, you may need to prove English Language Proficiency through a standardized test (like TOEFL).
  • Some programs require that students have some experience working in a professional kitchen.

What are the best Culinary Arts degrees?

Best Culinary Arts Degree Badge

You’re about to make a significant financial commitment and you want to make sure you get into the best program. But what makes a great program? At College Choice, we look at three main variables: institutional reputation, tuition, and return on investment.

There are a lot of programs out there, and we at College Choice have slogged through data sources gleaning numbers on national rankings, peer assessments, and early career earnings. This ranking is the result of our labor, and the final College Choice Score represents academic excellence and the return on your tuition dollar.

So, without further ado—we present to you the definitive College Choice list of the Best Culinary Arts Degrees.

Ranking

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. Culinary Institute Inc
    Location

    Houston, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

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  2. The Culinary Institue of America
    Location

    Hyde Park, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    If you’ve dreamed of taking part in the New York food scene, this might be your chance. The Culinary Institute of America is a private college and a celebrated culinary school. With an emphasis in culinary, baking, and pastry arts education, the school’s primary campus is in Hyde Park, New York with branch campuses in California and Texas.

    Program Features

    The Culinary Institute of America offers an adult degree completion Bachelor of Professional Studies in Culinary Arts program. Students receive an in-depth culinary arts education that builds on their previous studies. Beginning with foundational, hands-on culinary courses, students move on to an array of electives or a concentration that allows you to focus on your area of interest. Courses include:

    • Baking and Pastry Skill Development
    • Modern Banquet Cookery
    • Garde Manger

    Notables

    CIA’s BPS in Culinary Arts is a hands-on completion program (you must have completed 30-60 credits of liberal arts and other courses) that is comprised of 60 credits of required and elective coursework. Students gain real-world experience through a 15-week paid externship at one of CIA’s industry partners. Students also have the option to travel abroad for a single course or an entire semester.

  3. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
    Location

    Boulder, CO

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Named after the legendary French chef, Auguste Escoffier, the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is an ACCET- and COE-accredited culinary school group with campuses in both Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas. The school offers accredited diploma and degree programs—both online and on-campus—in culinary and pastry arts.

    Program Features

    Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts program that provides a strong foundation of foodservice, operations, and management skills that directly transfers to your first day of work in the culinary field. AESCA intentionally focuses on short, fast-paced, and hands-on programs dedicated to food, cooking, and palate development. The program includes:

    • Hands-on practice in the test kitchen
    • Foodservice, operations, and management skills
    • A Farm to Table Experience

    Notables

    Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts’ AAS in Culinary Arts at the Austin, TX campus is 60 weeks and includes 6 weeks of Farm to Table Experience and 12 weeks of industry externship. Program Alumni pursue a variety of career paths from fine-dining restaurants to catering, country clubs or hotels around the country. Some students are pursuing careers as food journalists or personal chefs, while others have started their own businesses.

  4. Paul Smiths College of Arts and Science
    Location

    Paul Smiths, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in New York State’s Adirondacks, Paul Smith’s College is a private college which offers two- and four-year degrees in a number of areas, including natural resources, recreation, hotel and restaurant management, and culinary arts. The school ranks among the top 25 regional colleges in the North according to U.S. News and World Report and as one of the best value schools in the region.

    Program Features

    Paul Smith’s College offers a Bachelor of Professional Studies that turns students into multifaceted leaders ready to enter the food and beverage industry. Students learn from faculty who are all members of the American Culinary Federation. This is a broad-based program covering all aspects of the culinary world, from advanced technical and operational knowledge and skills to aesthetic appreciation, research and development, and management skills. Courses include:

    • Professional Cooking Fundamentals
    • Garde Manger & Charcuterie
    • Commercial Cooking and Catering.

    Notables

    Paul Smith’s College is well-equipped with six professional-grade kitchens, two on-campus restaurants and student-run retail bakery outlet in which students learn hands-on lessons in the culinary arts. And all students complete 800 hours of work experience as part of the program. On graduation, you’ll be ready to enter the workforce as chefs de cuisine, sous chefs or private chefs, equipped with the knowledge and skills to rapidly advance in their careers.

  5. Johnson & Wales University
    Location

    Providence, RI

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Providence, Rhode Island, Johnson & Wales University is a private, regionally accredited career-oriented university. With highly regarded programs in many areas, including Culinary Arts, the school ranks among the best regional universities in the North (#64 according to U.S. News and World Report).

    Program Features

    Johnson & Wales University offers a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts program that will inculcate students with all the necessary skills to run a successful food operation. Through a combination of laboratory and academic classes, students learn craft skills and kitchen operations management, as well as leadership and communication skills. And credentialed faculty share their professional expertise within state-of-the-art culinary laboratories. Courses include:

    • Chef-Driven Contemporary Casual Concepts
    • Corporate Dining Concepts
    • Chef-Driven Fine Dining Concepts

    Notables

    Johnson & Wales B.S. in Culinary Arts is a comprehensive degree program that builds on an arts and sciences core curriculum, covering both foundational kitchen skills as well as topics like sustainability, wine pairing, and more. And students put their theory to work in an internship as well as a culinary capstone project. All this takes place in an educational environment that promotes student learning and assists students in achieving their place within the culinary profession.

  6. Keiser University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Keiser University is a private, regionally accredited university that provides primarily career-oriented undergraduate and graduate programs. The school ranks among the best regional schools in the South (U.S. News and World Report) and the Keiser University Center for Culinary Arts is accredited by the American Culinary Federation.

    Program Features

    Keiser University offers an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts which equips students with a broad range of culinary theory and practical experience. This comprehensive program (which is available at the Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee campuses) provides hands-on education in a range of topics like dining room management, food service production, and sanitation. Students also develop professionalism and proficiency in meat cutting, nutrition, stocks and sauces, and baking and pastry. Courses include:

    • Principles of Food
    • International Cuisine
    • Pastries and Desserts

    Notables

    Keiser’s A.S. in Culinary Arts prepares you with practical knowledge and skills—through both coursework and an externship—to pursue career opportunities in the culinary field. Graduates from Keiser’s program can pursue a variety of positions in culinary settings like restaurants, hotels, and clubs and resorts. If you’re more interested in baking, Keiser also offers an A.S. in Baking and Pastry Arts which focuses on pastry and bread baking techniques, production skills and critical-thinking skills.

  7. New England Culinary Institute
    Location

    Montpelier, VT

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Situated in the Vermont state capital (and frontier of the farm-to-table movement) of Montpelier, the New England Culinary Institute is an ACCSC-accredited and highly regarded private culinary college. The school prides itself on rigorous, standards-based curricula, small teacher-chef to student ratios, and a learn-by-doing approach to culinary education.

    Program Features

    NECI offers a Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts that provides both advanced culinary techniques and preparation to successfully open or operate a business in the food industry. This comprehensive program not only provides intensive practical training and refinement of cooking skills but fundamental business and entrepreneurial skills. Students also explore theory of food in a global economy, including topics like:

    • Food science
    • Nutritional cooking
    • Sustainability.

    Notables

    NECI’s B.A. in Culinary Arts includes two 1-year residency periods and two 12-week externship periods. You’ll experience classroom work and intensive hands-on learning in the kitchens and food services of NECI. Additional hands-on lab work takes place through intensive internal practicums, lab courses, and a final outside externship. If you’re not sure that you want to commit to an entire Bachelor’s program, take a look at NECI’s Associate’s degree.

  8. Hudson County Community College
    Location

    Jersey City, NJ

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Hudson County, New Jersey, Hudson County Community College is a regionally accredited, public community college. The school offers degrees and certifications in career-centered programs and is home to an acclaimed Culinary Arts Institute that is fully accredited by the American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission.

    Program Features

    The HCCC Culinary Arts Institute offers an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts that provides comprehensive two-year training in the culinary arts. The curriculum covers all facets of the food service operations, preparing students for entry-level restaurant and food service positions as chefs, station chefs, sous-chefs, bakers, and restaurant managers. Courses include:

    • Pantry and Breakfast Cookery
    • Menu and Facilities Design
    • Intermediate Garde Manger

    Notables

    At HCCC’s Culinary Arts Institute, every faculty member pays personal attention to every student’s hands-on learning experience. To ensure this kind of individual approach, kitchen labs are limited to just 16 students. The A.A.S. degree includes a 600-hour externship which trains students in the context of fine restaurants and hotels. HCCC’s Culinary Arts Institute, opened in 2005, is equipped with an elegant dining room, modern instructional kitchens, and classrooms.

  9. Kendall College
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1934, Kendall College is a regionally accredited, for-profit college that is located in Chicago, Illinois. The school offers career-focused programs in a variety of areas and is home to a School of Culinary Arts that is both fully accredited and has been honored as an Exemplary Program by the American Culinary Federation.

    Program Features

    Kendall College’s Culinary Arts School offers a Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts that provides students with advanced culinary and management skills. Students graduate with both in-depth knowledge of world cuisine and invaluable practical experience. Kendall’s curriculum gives a comprehensive education in the necessary skills to plan, build, promote, and run a flourishing culinary business—from kitchen skills to business savvy. Courses include:

    • American Cuisine Project: A Global Chef’s Perspective
    • Methods of Cooking
    • Storeroom Operations and Purchasing

    Notables

    Kendall College’s B.A. in Culinary Arts is built on a strong general education foundation which also provides math, computer, language, and communication skills. And students take advantage of Chicago’s world-class food industry through internships at local, national, and international restaurants and establishments. Kendall’s campus features 12 professional-grade commercial kitchens, specialized chocolate/sugar and garde manger kitchens and an outdoor bread oven.

  10. SUNY College of Technology-Delhi
    Location

    Delhi, NY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in New York State’s Catskill Mountains, the State University of New York at Delhi (SUNY Delhi) is a regionally accredited technology-focused university. The school ranks among the top 20 regional universities in the North (U.S. News and World Report) and is home to a renowned, ACF-accredited Culinary Arts program.

    Program Features

    SUNY Delhi offers an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts program that will launch your culinary career. The program provides a strong theoretical foundation and hands-on experience in a range of skills that will set you up for success—from crucial kitchen skills and menu planning to the fundamentals of Hospitality Management. Courses include:

    • Professional Baking
    • Culinary Restaurant Operations
    • Orientation to Hospitality

    Notables

    SUNY Delhi’s Culinary Arts program is comprised of 15 required courses taught in state-of-the-art facilities (which includes an ice-carving lab!). All courses are taught by professional chef-instructors who have industry experience and are passionate to share their skills. This is your chance to get on a winning team—in the last eight years, SUNY-Delhi students have won more than 500 individual and team medals.

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