Culinary Arts Schools

Those who work in the culinary arts are responsible for preparing food in places where it is served. Typically, you will find them working in restaurants either as chefs or in supervisory roles overseeing other kitchen staff to ensure meals are prepared per order and standard.

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At a Glance

Culinary SchoolsOther Job Titles: Chef
Salary Range/Pay:[1]
$24,530-$74,120; Median $42,480
Education/Training Required:
High school diploma; Culinary arts training program
Desired Skills/Aptitude:
Creativeness, good ability to taste and smell, manual dexterity
Certification available through American Culinary Federation
Locations with Best Opportunities[2]:
Nevada, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Vermont, New Hampshire
Employment Outlook:
Slight growth or no growth through 2020
Opportunities for Advancement:
Advancement to higher levels as executive chefs or head cooks; become a restaurant owner

What a Culinary Arts Professional Does

Those in the culinary arts fill a variety of roles when it comes to preparing fine dining and cuisine. Most call them chefs however they also work as food stylists, nutritionists, sous chefs, head cooks, caterers, personal chefs, private household chefs, and bakers. When in the kitchen, if not preparing food, they supervise other cooks and kitchen staff to ensure meals are prepared to their standards.

Some of the duties in addition to preparation of food and supervision of kitchen staff include:

  • Menu planning
  • Ensuring the cleanliness of the kitchen
  • Inspecting the functionality of kitchen equipment
  • Inspecting food for freshness

Chefs who advance to be restaurant owners might find that they spend more time in the office and in the customer dining area overseeing all facets of the restaurant’s operation. They will have probably hired another chef to look after the kitchen operations.

The Workplace

Most workers in the culinary arts work in restaurants. Basically any place where food is prepared can be a position for a chef. Thus, you can also find them working in private homes, institutional food service centers, hotels, and amusement parks.

Their workplace is most always the kitchen and these places are not only hot but full of hazards thus safety practices must be given attention at all times. Kitchens are crowded and if not careful one could slip, fall, and get burned. Using utensils such as knives also poses a threat of getting cut.

Education and Certification

Some who work in this field start out in other kitchen positions and learn from the chefs as they go. They may work as dishwashers or cooks on the line and learn how to prepare food as an art and not a task. Some organizations even have formal on-the-job training programs.

Those that enter the culinary arts field directly will have attended a formal training or degree program. These programs can be found in community colleges, traditional colleges, or culinary arts schools. Some traditional colleges offer 2 or 4-year degree programs in the culinary arts.

The curriculum in these schools not only offers practical hands-on experience in preparing certain dishes but cover other topics related to the job such as planning menus, keeping food sanitary, and purchasing equipment used in the kitchen.

Many of the training programs also have an apprenticeship component so that students can get real-life experience in the kitchen of a commercial food service establishment. These apprenticeship programs run for about two years.

Certification is available for those who work in this field even though it is not required. The American Culinary Federation is the current certifying agency. Typically, chefs work from six months up to 5 years before taking a certification exam.


[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Chefs and Head Cooks, on the Internet at

[2] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, Chefs and Head Cooks, on the Internet at