How Long Does Culinary School Take?

The road towards a career as a chef begins with a culinary arts degree. Even if you have a natural flair for cooking in the kitchen, going to culinary school is still very important, especially if you intend to get a job in well-paying high-class restaurants. Besides, employers want proof that you are knowledgeable about kitchen operations before they hire you and one way for you to get the training you need is to go to culinary school.

There are different types of programs that you can enroll in culinary school and the length of time you spend in one depends on whether you enroll in a certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program. Certificate programs take anywhere from a few weeks to a year to finish while associate’s degrees can be completed in a year-and-a-half to two years. Bachelor’s degrees can normally be finished in about four years.

To give you an idea of the length of time required in various culinary courses, let’s take a look at some of those that are offered in culinary schools in the nation. The International Culinary Center in New York and California offer various professional culinary arts programs with daytime and evening schedules. Their culinary entrepreneurship course is 90 hours and is geared for those who want to run their own establishments. Their professional culinary arts program is a program that can be finished in six to nine months. They also offer courses in Italian culinary experience which can be completed in 28 weeks.

The Culinary Institute of America offers an associate in occupational studies in culinary arts degree program which can be completed in 21 months. It teaches students topics in menu development, food safety and cost control, among others, and prepares students to become a culinary professional. Students who have obtained their associate’s degree at the Culinary Institute of America can also continue their education for 17 more months to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

This culinary school offers a bachelor of professional studies in culinary arts management, bachelor of professional studies in culinary science and bachelor of professional studies in applied food studies.

Associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree programs typically enable you to be hired at entry-level positions in restaurants, traveler accommodations and special food services. If you are aiming for management positions in any establishment that serve food, obtaining a master’s degree in culinary arts would enhance your resume. A master’s degree can be completed in a couple of years and will train you to handle employees, give excellent customer service and manage the day-to-day operations of the business.

If you don’t want to go through formal culinary school, there are apprenticeship programs that are sponsored by industry associations, trade unions and culinary institutes together with the U.S. Department of Labor. Apprenticeship programs last for two years. Those who have a high school diploma, are at least 17 years of age and are not into drugs can apply for these apprenticeship programs. The good thing about apprenticeship programs is that they enable you to earn as you learn since paid-on-the-job training is a vital component of the training given.

Career Spotlight: Chef

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