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 investigative people.
Take our career test to see what career interest category best describes you.
Culinary Chefs by Strongest Interest Archetype
Based on sample of 1342 Sokanu users
Are Culinary Chefs happy?
Culinary chefs rank
among the least happy
careers. Overall they rank in the 32nd 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.
8% of culinary chefs had a degree in culinary arts before becoming culinary chefs. That is over 17 times the average across all careers.
Hospitality Management graduates are the second most common among culinary chefs, representing 2% of culinary chefs in the Sokanu user base, which is 2.2 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.