Culinary Arts Programs

Getting the degree and expertise that you want

Different cooking schools offer particular programs. For example, some schools offer advanced programs at the Bachelor's and Master's level, while others may only offer a diploma program. What program you enroll in will depend on a number of factors, including your prior education and the type of degree that you require in order to get the job you want.

Diploma and Certificate Programs

The most common programs offered by cooking schools are diploma and certificate programs. These are typically offered by trade schools (also called vocational schools) and community colleges, although some universities and colleges also offer such programs.

Diploma and certificate programs can generally be completed in only eight to ten weeks. Some focus on general topics such as professional cooking and restaurant management. These programs can be a good start for those with no prior education or experience in the food-service industry. Other programs are tailored to one specific segment of the food service industry, such as programs in baking and pastry arts.

Top cooking schools that offer programs at the diploma and certificate level include The Art Institute and Le Cordon Bleu.

Associate's Degree Programs

Associate's degree programs are a popular choice for many individuals who wish to get a more advanced culinary-arts education than those offered by diploma or certificate programs. Associate's degree programs teach general cooking skills, such as standard kitchen practices and knife usage. More advanced programs are also available, such as international cuisine. Associate's degree programs normally take two years to complete.

Graduates of Associate's degree programs in culinary arts typically move on to careers with restaurants, catering companies and hotels. Some even go on to be a kitchen supervisor. Those who enroll in programs with a specific concentration, such as restaurant management or baking and pastry arts, tend to find work in their particular areas of specialization.

A well known school that offers a program at the Associate's degree level is The Culinary Institute of America.

Bachelor's Degree Programs

Most culinary arts programs at the Bachelor's level generally take four years to complete and they focus on managerial training. Unlike Associate's degree programs, Bachelor's programs generally include courses in the liberal arts, business administration and hospitality management. Those who enroll in Bachelor's degree programs are the ones who seek leadership positions in the food-service industry, such as restaurant managers.

A well known school that offers a program at the Bachelor's degree level is Johnson & Wales University.

Master's Degree Programs

Culinary arts programs at the Master's level are relatively rare. They typically take two years to complete and are only offered by a few select colleges and universities. Those who enroll in a Master's program generally want to become an expert in the techniques associated with one very specific aspect of cooking, such as baking, pastries or confections.

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