Entry level positions will be open to people willing to work hard, perform well, and move up the ladder. However, to bypass some rungs or to jumpstart a culinary career, formal education will certainly help.

A wide variety of formal culinary training exists, ranging from a few months to four years. There are associates degrees that can be earned in two years, and bachelors degrees that take four years. All programs have hands-on training, where the students will be in a kitchen and learn cooking and baking techniques, nutrition, preparation, as well as safety and sanitation procedures. Internships may also be required depending on the program.

There are over 550 cooking schools in the United States alone, and more and more employers are expecting academic success from their prospective employees. Of these, just under 70 schools have been accredited by the American Culinary Federation.

Nearly all graduates start their careers as an apprentice to a higher-level chef and work their way up, regardless of education.

What are Culinary Chefs like?


Based on our pool of users, culinary chefs tend to be predominately artistic people. Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.

Culinary Chefs by Strongest Interest Archetype

Based on sample of 1948 Sokanu users

Are Culinary Chefs happy?


Culinary chefs rank among the least happy careers. Overall they rank in the 29th percentile of careers for satisfaction scores.

Culinary Chef Career Satisfaction by Dimension

Percentile among all careers

Education History of Culinary Chefs

The most common degree held by culinary chefs is Culinary Arts. 7% of culinary chefs had a degree in culinary arts before becoming culinary chefs. That is over 14 times the average across all careers. Hospitality Management graduates are the second most common among culinary chefs, representing 1% of culinary chefs in the Sokanu user base, which is 1.6 times the average.

Culinary Chef Education History

This table shows which degrees people earn before becoming a Culinary Chef, compared to how often those degrees are obtained by people who earn at least one post secondary degree.

Degree % of culinary chefs % of population Multiple
Culinary Arts 6.8% 0.5% 13.9×
Hospitality Management 1.4% 0.9% 1.6×
Business Management And Administration 1.3% 6.5% 0.2×
English Literature 1.3% 4.9% 0.3×

Culinary Chef Education Levels

74% of culinary chefs have an associate's degree. 11% of culinary chefs have a high school diploma.

No education 0%
High school diploma 11%
Associate's degree 74%
Bachelor's degree 11%
Master's degree 4%
Doctorate degree 0%

How to Become a Culinary Chef

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good culinary chef? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

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  2. Jobs in your area
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Further Reading

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