Career Exploration: Culinary Arts

What does it take to get a career in culinary arts?

Career Exploration: Culinary Arts

Do you enjoy experimenting with recipes and serving your creations to friends and family? Do you have a passion for food and wish to share that passion with others? If so, then you might want to consider a career in the culinary arts.


What kinds of careers are available in this field?

The field of culinary arts has many different career opportunities. Entry to mid-level positions in this field includes line cooks, assistant bakers, pantry cooks, prep cooks and grillardins. One of the top positions in this field is a chef or head cook. Caterers, hotels, resorts and restaurants typically hire culinary arts professionals of all levels. Those who pursue culinary arts also have a range of different cuisines to specialize in, including European, Latin, American, Asian, African, Indian, Mediterranean and more.


What can I expect to earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, chefs and head cooks earned an average of $40,630 per year as of May 2010. Salary can vary based on region, employer and location. Upscale restaurants and hotels in major metropolitan areas typically pay best.


How do I get into this field?

One of the most important things you need in order to be successful in the field of culinary arts is gaining experience. You can do this by starting off in other positions around the kitchen, like working as a dishwasher or a line cook, and working your way up as you learn techniques and skills from other chefs.


Getting educated

Many professionals also gain experience through formal training in higher education. Programs are typically offered at community colleges, 2-year or 4-year institutions and culinary arts institutes. The Art Institutes offers a culinary arts program that covers a variety of specializations and explores the many different aspects of a career in culinary.

Some of the things you’ll typically learn when studying the culinary arts is culinary techniques, sanitation & safety, nutrition, foodservice technology, world cuisine and planning & controlling costs. Other courses that you take may vary based on specialization or institution.


Find a school

When looking for a school that offers a degree in culinary arts, make sure the institution is accredited and will offer the proper training, experience and resources that will help you get ahead in your area of interest.

Ready to get started? Check out our College Match tool to find colleges that match your interests and goals. Read their profiles, request information and do some exploring on your own to find the perfect school for you.  


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