dcsimg

The term chef is most commonly used to refer to an individual who has received specialized culinary arts training, and who typically works in mid-tier to fine dining eating establishments with table service and where food is "cooked to order". Training, especially for chefs employed in high-end restaurants, can be quite extensive in comparison to the on-the-job training of most cooks.

Chefs picture    Chefs image

Culinary and Cooking Schools

Shorter term culinary arts programs may be found at technical education schools, as well as culinary and cooking schools. Completion of these programs helps culinary professionals obtain entry-level positions in the field where they can work their way up to becoming a chef. Here are a list of 3 culinary and cooking schools that confer certificates, diplomas and associate degrees. All are accredited by the American Culinary Federation.

  • Bishop State Community College: This community college in Mobile, Alabama offers an associate degree in commercial food service.
  • Cascade Culinary Institute: This culinary institute in Bend, Oregon offers a specialized associate degree in baking and pastry.
  • Paul Smith's College: Located in the Adirondacks of New York, this college offers students an associate degree in the culinary arts.

Chef Schools

Chefs, especially those who intend to work in table-service restaurants and fine dining establishments, can in some cases work their way up to the role with an associate degree and several years of work experience under their belt. Alternatively, many choose to attend four-year culinary programs that lead to a Bachelor of Arts degree. The following three schools offer a bachelor's in the culinary arts and are accredited by the American Culinary Federation.

  • The Art Institute of California-Sacramento: This campus of Argosy University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in culinary management.
  • The International Culinary School: Located in Texas within the Art Institute of Houston, this school offers a Bachelor of Science in food and beverage management.
  • Johnson and Wales University: Culinary arts students at this university are given the opportunity to perform internships at university-owned or affiliated hotels and restaurants. The school offers a bachelor's degree in culinary nutrition.

Culinary Education Requirements

Chef training schools prepare you to meet the relevant culinary education requirements. You'll develop your expertise in the kitchen as well as the classroom, learning culinary techniques and restaurant management skills.

Most culinary programs require a high school degree and some selective culinary institutes prefer candidates with some industry experience. The curriculum covers general academic knowledge, applied cooking skills, and culinary business fundamentals. Courses cover:

  • Recipe and menu planning
  • Food preparation and cooking techniques
  • Regional cuisines
  • Supervising and training kitchen assistants
  • Kitchen management, including resource and supplies planning
  • Food presentation
  • Sanitation and food safety regulations
  • Culinary business skills (accounting, marketing, budgeting and finance, etc.)

In addition, chef training programs may provide instruction in nutrition, purchasing and inventory software, and specialized chef techniques. Specialized elective courses include wine and sommelier training, pastry chef training, bread baking, sous vide cooking, flavor dynamics, buffet presentation, and more.

Culinary Certification and Training

Though certification is not required, it can help demonstrate proficiency in the field. The International Association of Culinary Professionals also offers the Certified Culinary Professional (CCP) credential. In addition, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) offers the following certifications:

  • ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification
  • Foodservice Management Professional (FMP) Certification

Most culinary arts programs include a significant amount of hands-on training. Internships/externships, or working in school run restaurants is also frequently part of culinary arts programs. The American Culinary Federation also operates apprenticeship programs lasting two or three years that combine on-the-job training with technical classroom instruction.

Working side by side with an established chef, you'll have the opportunity to apply your formal training in practice. The mentorship and professional contacts you gain from this apprenticeship can have a major impact on your career prospects. As you review chef training schools, take into account their networking and apprenticeship programs.

Chef Certifications and Training

Chefs in training can expect to spend substantial amounts of their training in a lab kitchens gaining valuable hands-on expertise. While food services establishments must obtain and maintain many different types of licenses such as department of health licensing and certification, it is not necessary for chefs to be licensed. Many may have to attend sanitation and safe food handling courses designated by the department of health as a requirement for a restaurant's licensing, however.

Certification can, hoewver, add an important credential for those individuals trying to obtain top-tier jobs where the competition can be very keen. The American Culinary Federation offers the following certification credentials for chefs:

  • Certified Culinarian (CC)
  • Certified Sous Chef (CSC)
  • Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC)
  • Certified Executive Chef (CEC)
  • Certified Master Chef (CMC)
  • Personal Certified Chef (PCC)
  • Personal Certified Executive Chef (PCEC)

Resources for Chefs and Culinary Professionals

Sources:

  1. American Culinary Federation, http://www.acfchefs.org/ACFSource/Education/Postsecondary.aspx
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Chefs and Head Cooks, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/chefs-and-head-cooks.htm
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Cooks, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/cooks.htm
  4. Johnson and Wales, https://academics.jwu.edu/college-of-culinary-arts/

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for:
Chefs and Culinary Professionals

Listed below are metro areas sorted by the total number of people employed in Chefs and Culinary Professionals jobs , as of 2015

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

     
Metro Area (Alabama) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Birmingham 170 $51,390
Hoover 170 $51,390
Montgomery 90 $50,260
Foley 50 $44,300
Fairhope 50 $44,300
Daphne 50 $44,300
Mobile 40 $34,820
Huntsville N/A $35,650
Opelika N/A $43,580
Auburn N/A $43,580
     
Metro Area (Alaska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anchorage 290 $33,980
Fairbanks N/A $50,970
     
Metro Area (Arizona) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Scottsdale 1640 $38,990
Mesa 1640 $38,990
Phoenix 1640 $38,990
Tucson 400 $30,420
Flagstaff 90 $42,740
Prescott 60 $37,410
     
Metro Area (Arkansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Conway 210 $37,970
North Little Rock 210 $37,970
Little Rock 210 $37,970
Hot Springs 50 $36,310
     
Metro Area (California) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anaheim 6830 $37,440
Long Beach 6830 $37,440
Los Angeles 6830 $37,440
San Francisco 3790 $43,710
Hayward 3790 $43,710
Oakland 3790 $43,710
Carlsbad 1980 $41,530
San Diego 1980 $41,530
Arcade 1310 $43,010
Roseville 1310 $43,010
Arden 1310 $43,010
Sacramento 1310 $43,010
San Bernardino 1280 $46,340
Riverside 1280 $46,340
Ontario 1280 $46,340
Sunnyvale 940 $50,380
Santa Clara 940 $50,380
San Jose 940 $50,380
Thousand Oaks 290 $40,860
Oxnard 290 $40,860
Ventura 290 $40,860
Santa Rosa 280 $45,220
Paso Robles 240 $36,190
Arroyo Grande 240 $36,190
San Luis Obispo 240 $36,190
Salinas 240 $51,940
Vallejo 230 $31,560
Fairfield 230 $31,560
Fresno 230 $43,410
Napa 180 $45,420
Santa Maria 180 $55,470
Santa Barbara 180 $55,470
Watsonville 160 $35,620
Santa Cruz 160 $35,620
Porterville 90 $41,210
Visalia 90 $41,210
Modesto 90 $41,870
Stockton 80 $39,500
Lodi 80 $39,500
Chico 70 $38,230
Madera 40 $30,890
Bakersfield N/A $24,800
Redding N/A $32,780
     
Metro Area (Colorado) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Aurora 1320 $42,760
Lakewood 1320 $42,760
Denver 1320 $42,760
Boulder 220 $39,100
Colorado Springs 210 $54,220
Fort Collins 90 $46,950
Grand Junction 40 $38,710
     
Metro Area (Connecticut) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Hartford 680 $47,320
East Hartford 680 $47,320
West Hartford 680 $47,320
Bridgeport 520 $38,060
Norwalk 520 $38,060
Stamford 520 $38,060
Danbury 250 $42,800
New Haven 200 $49,410
Waterbury 60 $34,810
     
Metro Area (Delaware) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Dover 40 $41,700
     
Metro Area (Florida) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Miami 2600 $51,120
West Palm Beach 2600 $51,120
Fort Lauderdale 2600 $51,120
Kissimmee 1350 $50,850
Sanford 1350 $50,850
Orlando 1350 $50,850
St. Petersburg 790 $43,610
Tampa 790 $43,610
Clearwater 790 $43,610
Sarasota 530 N/A
Bradenton 530 N/A
North Port 530 N/A
Jacksonville 390 $46,770
Cape Coral 370 $55,140
Fort Myers 370 $55,140
Marco Island 360 $53,840
Naples 360 $53,840
Immokalee 360 $53,840
Fort Walton Beach 190 $49,940
Destin 190 $49,940
Crestview 190 $49,940
Titusville 170 $46,220
Melbourne 170 $46,220
Palm Bay 170 $46,220
Port St. Lucie 130 N/A
Lakeland 110 $46,430
Winter Haven 110 $46,430
Ormond Beach 90 $46,810
Deltona 90 $46,810
Daytona Beach 90 $46,810
Vero Beach 80 $54,780
Sebastian 80 $54,780
The Villages 80 $60,070
Brent 70 $40,130
Ferry Pass 70 $40,130
Pensacola 70 $40,130
Tallahassee 70 $43,730
Gainesville 50 $50,600
Ocala 40 $42,400
Panama City N/A $56,770
     
Metro Area (Georgia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Sandy Springs 2500 $30,270
Atlanta 2500 $30,270
Roswell 2500 $30,270
Clarke County 160 $22,890
Athens 160 $22,890
Savannah 140 $34,310
Brunswick 50 $34,380
Macon N/A $24,110
Warner Robins N/A $27,880
Gainesville N/A $28,760
Valdosta N/A $32,620
     
Metro Area (Hawaii) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Urban Honolulu 1250 $30,670
Lahaina 270 $46,010
Wailuku 270 $46,010
Kahului 270 $46,010
     
Metro Area (Idaho) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Boise City 400 $29,740
Coeur d'Alene 50 $32,120
Idaho Falls N/A $30,800
     
Metro Area (Illinois) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Peoria 180 $31,560
Rockford 130 $41,470
Urbana 70 $53,310
Champaign 70 $53,310
Springfield 40 $24,620
Carbondale 40 $37,310
Marion 40 $37,310
Bloomington N/A $37,540
     
Metro Area (Indiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Anderson 860 $35,890
Carmel 860 $35,890
Indianapolis 860 $35,890
Fort Wayne 80 $36,130
Terre Haute 70 $35,410
Bloomington 60 $37,200
     
Metro Area (Iowa) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
West Des Moines 190 $34,700
Des Moines 190 $34,700
Dubuque 120 $29,590
Iowa City 110 $35,550
Cedar Rapids 100 $29,500
Ames 40 $46,770
Cedar Falls 30 $36,810
Waterloo 30 $36,810
     
Metro Area (Kansas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Topeka 140 $35,430
Lawrence 80 $40,180
Wichita N/A $29,760
     
Metro Area (Kentucky) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Fayette 150 $46,700
Lexington 150 $46,700
Owensboro 60 $34,990
     
Metro Area (Louisiana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
New Orleans 610 $30,270
Metairie 610 $30,270
Baton Rouge 190 $39,950
Lake Charles 150 $31,540
Shreveport 120 $37,890
Bossier City 120 $37,890
Lafayette 110 $26,880
Houma 90 $37,980
Thibodaux 90 $37,980
Monroe 50 $25,570
Alexandria 40 $74,400
     
Metro Area (Maine) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Portland 210 $37,190
Portland 210 $37,190
Bangor 60 $38,890
Auburn N/A $42,420
Lewiston N/A $42,420
     
Metro Area (Maryland) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Towson 1290 $46,540
Columbia 1290 $46,540
Baltimore 1290 $46,540
     
Metro Area (Massachusetts) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Barnstable Town 150 $49,270
Leominster 90 $36,300
Gardner 90 $36,300
New Bedford 80 $40,440
Pittsfield 70 $53,710
     
Metro Area (Michigan) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Warren 1540 $36,510
Detroit 1540 $36,510
Dearborn 1540 $36,510
Wyoming 310 $36,750
Grand Rapids 310 $36,750
East Lansing 230 $43,660
Lansing 230 $43,660
Flint 140 $32,850
Ann Arbor 130 $57,780
Portage 50 $31,970
Kalamazoo 50 $31,970
Benton Harbor 50 $52,770
Niles 50 $52,770
Saginaw 40 $34,460
     
Metro Area (Minnesota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Rochester 60 $39,180
St. Cloud 50 $45,540
     
Metro Area (Mississippi) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Gulfport 230 $38,530
Pascagoula 230 $38,530
Biloxi 230 $38,530
Jackson 170 $51,280
Hattiesburg 80 $23,240
     
Metro Area (Missouri) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Columbia 80 $41,950
Springfield 50 $51,540
     
Metro Area (Montana) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Missoula 100 $29,190
Billings 60 $39,690
     
Metro Area (Nebraska) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Lincoln 110 $47,930
     
Metro Area (Nevada) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Paradise 2800 $48,040
Henderson 2800 $48,040
Las Vegas 2800 $48,040
Reno 450 $43,640
Carson City 30 $46,370
     
Metro Area (New Hampshire) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Manchester 100 $47,330
     
Metro Area (New Jersey) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Atlantic City 390 $55,660
Hammonton 390 $55,660
Trenton 240 $39,660
Ocean City 90 $47,220
     
Metro Area (New Mexico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albuquerque 160 $34,600
Santa Fe 110 $56,480
Las Cruces N/A $28,920
     
Metro Area (New York) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Albany 600 $42,540
Troy 600 $42,540
Schenectady 600 $42,540
Niagara Falls 580 $31,140
Buffalo 580 $31,140
Cheektowaga 580 $31,140
Rochester 560 $35,500
Utica 260 $24,700
Rome 260 $24,700
Syracuse 190 $39,610
Kingston 170 $35,370
Ithaca 130 $41,900
Glens Falls 100 $42,810
Binghamton 90 $48,430
Elmira 30 $35,600
Fort Drum N/A $35,730
Watertown N/A $35,730
     
Metro Area (North Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Raleigh 320 $44,680
Durham 160 $38,810
Chapel Hill 160 $38,810
High Point 150 $40,550
Greensboro 150 $40,550
Asheville 150 $40,980
Salem 100 $39,360
Winston 100 $39,360
Morganton 60 $36,910
Hickory 60 $36,910
Lenoir 60 $36,910
Fayetteville 40 $39,500
Wilmington 30 $43,260
     
Metro Area (North Dakota) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Bismarck 70 $42,030
     
Metro Area (Ohio) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Cleveland 800 $41,030
Elyria 800 $41,030
Columbus 640 $39,250
Toledo 220 $43,510
Akron 170 $38,870
Dayton 160 $41,940
Massillon 60 $36,110
Canton 60 $36,110
Mansfield 30 $23,510
Lima N/A $34,900
     
Metro Area (Oklahoma) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Tulsa 420 $30,650
Oklahoma City 360 $45,730
     
Metro Area (Oregon) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Medford 140 $31,940
Eugene 120 $38,750
Bend 70 $37,110
Redmond 70 $37,110
Salem 50 $45,080
Corvallis 40 $36,720
     
Metro Area (Pennsylvania) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Pittsburgh 1070 $40,950
Lancaster 190 $41,870
Carlisle 160 $39,190
Harrisburg 160 $39,190
Reading 110 $44,850
Barre 100 $38,990
Hazleton 100 $38,990
Wilkes 100 $38,990
Scranton 100 $38,990
Hanover 100 $44,800
York 100 $44,800
Erie 90 $43,030
State College 70 $30,370
Gettysburg 60 $30,810
East Stroudsburg 50 $43,420
Johnstown N/A $43,960
Bloomsburg N/A $54,190
Berwick N/A $54,190
     
Metro Area (Puerto Rico) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Caguas 520 $29,330
Carolina 520 $29,330
San Juan 520 $29,330
Arecibo 30 $22,580
     
Metro Area (South Carolina) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
North Charleston 910 $26,100
Charleston 910 $26,100
Mauldin 390 $35,000
Greenville 390 $35,000
Anderson 390 $35,000
Columbia 290 $34,510
Spartanburg 160 $22,540
Bluffton 140 $44,800
Beaufort 140 $44,800
Hilton Head Island 140 $44,800
Florence 50 $23,070
     
Metro Area (Tennessee) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Franklin 770 $37,620
Davidson 770 $37,620
Murfreesboro 770 $37,620
Nashville 770 $37,620
Knoxville 530 $22,400
Johnson City 70 $33,700
Jackson 50 $28,500
Cleveland N/A $22,460
Morristown N/A $22,630
     
Metro Area (Texas) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
The Woodlands 2650 $40,080
Houston 2650 $40,080
Sugar Land 2650 $40,080
Fort Worth 2290 $41,910
Arlington 2290 $41,910
Dallas 2290 $41,910
Austin 1070 $35,940
Round Rock 1070 $35,940
New Braunfels 550 $46,840
San Antonio 550 $46,840
Amarillo 110 $27,280
Corpus Christi 100 $24,260
Waco 90 $20,910
College Station 90 $33,190
Bryan 90 $33,190
El Paso 90 $38,940
Mission 90 $40,590
McAllen 90 $40,590
Edinburg 90 $40,590
Port Arthur 60 $72,280
Beaumont 60 $72,280
Lubbock 50 $48,910
Tyler 40 $37,220
Harlingen N/A $19,190
Brownsville N/A $19,190
Abilene N/A $21,600
Denison N/A $31,600
Sherman N/A $31,600
Killeen N/A $37,060
Temple N/A $37,060
     
Metro Area (Utah) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Salt Lake City 450 $41,470
Orem 80 $37,250
Provo 80 $37,250
Clearfield N/A $30,770
Ogden N/A $30,770
     
Metro Area (Vermont) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
South Burlington 70 $41,840
Burlington 70 $41,840
     
Metro Area (Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Richmond 550 $36,980
Roanoke 130 $36,270
Charlottesville 110 $43,240
Lynchburg 80 $31,160
Harrisonburg 50 $35,960
Christiansburg N/A $22,900
Radford N/A $22,900
Blacksburg N/A $22,900
Waynesboro N/A $38,150
Staunton N/A $38,150
     
Metro Area (Washington) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Seattle 1400 $48,820
Tacoma 1400 $48,820
Bellevue 1400 $48,820
Spokane 120 $39,660
Spokane Valley 120 $39,660
Tumwater 110 $31,240
Olympia 110 $31,240
Bellingham 60 $48,840
Bremerton 50 N/A
Silverdale 50 N/A
Yakima 50 $40,740
Mount Vernon 50 $42,550
Anacortes 50 $42,550
Wenatchee N/A $36,950
     
Metro Area (West Virginia) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Morgantown 50 $63,840
     
Metro Area (Wisconsin) Total Employment Annual Median Salary
Waukesha 660 $35,580
West Allis 660 $35,580
Milwaukee 660 $35,580
Madison 270 $35,820
Appleton 90 $22,310
Sheboygan 90 $33,220
Green Bay 90 $49,090
Wausau 30 $41,430
Janesville N/A $23,250
Beloit N/A $23,250
Racine N/A $32,370

Career Stories (Job Profiles) for Chefs and Culinary Professionals

To find out more about building a career as Chefs, we spoke with professionals in the field across a variety of specialties. Learn about their experiences on the job, the steps they took to complete their education, and what it takes to excel in this industry. Click the link to see a story.

All Types

Most Popular Industries for :
Chefs and Culinary Professionals

Industries representing at least 1% of total jobs for the occupation.

Source: 2015 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

Industry Jobs Percent Annual Median Salary
Restaurant 68,060 69% $36,570
Hotel And Accomodation 12,100 12% $44,380
Amusement Gambling And Recreation 7,240 7% $45,020
Government 2,970 3% $54,990
Education 1,250 1% $36,340
These schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles). Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Get Info links.
Matching School Ads
  • With an education from an Art Institutes school, imagine what you could create.
camnpus icon
Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego
  • You can fire up a new career with help from  Auguste Escoffier Schools of Culinary Arts. We offer two programs for careers in the culinary industry, including culinary arts and pastry arts.

  • You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

    For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

camnpus icon
Clovis, Modesto
  • Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.
Matching School Ads
CityTownInfo Career and College Resources

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Chefs and Culinary Professionals.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.

Back to Top