The Culinary Institute of America
One of the world’s top culinary colleges
The Culinary Institute of America is generally considered to be one of the world’s top cooking schools. It was founded in 1946 in Hyde Park, a town located in the northwest part of Dutchess County, New York (just a few miles south of Poughkeepsie). The Culinary Institute of America also maintains a branch campus in California’s Napa Valley called the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
The Institute offers both Associate of Occupational Studies and Bachelor of Professional Studies degree programs in one of two concentrations: culinary arts or baking and pastry arts. The school has also recently begun to offer a new accelerated culinary experience program, called "ACE," which allows people with four or more years of employment experience in the food-service industry to fast track towards an Associate’s degree. The ACE program is much the same as the Associate of Occupational Studies program, but with one exception: it doesn’t require students to complete the standard 18 week externship and some classes are completed at a faster pace.
Students interested in applying to the Culinary Institute of America should note that there’s an admission requirement of six months, at minimum, of food service experience. This is required as a means of ensuring the prospective students fully understand the realities of working in the food-service industry before they decide to enroll. The Culinary Institute of America is only interested in students who are passionate about getting a culinary arts education.
Tuition is in the range of $9,000 to $10,000 per semester. Students must complete nine semesters in order to graduate from the Bachelor of Professional Studies, including a paid externship between the freshman and sophomore years. The Bachelor of Professional Studies program can be completed in 38 months. The Associate of Occupational Studies program requires only 21 months.
For those unable to pay the full cost of tuition, the Institute provides personal assistance in applying for financial aid. Financial aid representatives help students determine their eligibility for grants, loans and scholarships. In fact, over 90 percent of students receive financial assistance of some kind.
The Culinary Institute of America is authorized to award the American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Master Chef certificate to qualified industry professionals.