Go Back to School in Culinary Arts
Use our step-by-step guide to get back to school and prepare for a career in culinary or baking and pastry arts.
Do you love the latest food fads (kale, anyone?) or dream of becoming a chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant?
Whether you’re looking for a career change or just starting out, heading to culinary arts school is a great first step.
If it’s time to sharpen your skills (and your knives), our step-by-step guide can help prepare you to hit the books—or in this case get you cooking.
Getting ready to go back to school or start your first year of culinary arts studies requires ample planning. Your free time will be affected and your family should be prepared for changes to their daily routine. Here are some factors to consider as you start prepping for that first culinary class:
- Evaluate your current schedule. Just like a beef bourguignon recipe, culinary school will require a lot of your time. With work and family commitments, make sure you have the time to devote to your classes and homework.
- Talk to your family. Make sure your friends, parents and/or partner and kids understand that you’ll be taking on a big commitment. Let them know how much their support means to you and remind them they’ll reap the delicious benefits of your education.
- Mentally prepare yourself. Your culinary arts education will be a priority in your life. You’ll need to be self-disciplined, study regularly and finish assignments on time.
- Start budgeting. College can be a hefty investment, so make sure you’ve either got money saved or are ready to apply for grants, loans, or other financial aid.
No matter which career you dream of, going to culinary arts schools is one of the first steps in your recipe for success. Once you’ve determined you want to head back to school, it’s time to make some important decisions about what to study—and where to study.
- What will you study? Some people return to school to get more training in their field, while others are looking for a culinary arts career change. Are your interests shifting from cooking to baking? Are you more interested in restaurant management? Options abound.
- Online or on-campus? Although many students choose a traditional classroom environment, there are several culinary arts programs online, making school a more flexible and convenient option than ever before.
- Location, location, location. Consider your work and family obligations. Is commuting an option? Are you willing to relocate for school?
- Do your research. Go online and draft a list of schools and programs that offer what you’re looking for. Request information from the schools that interest you.
Go Back to School…
Now is the time to take action and submit those request information and application forms.
- Visit college campuses. Once you’ve finished your school research, it’s likely you’ll have a few standouts. If you plan to enroll in an on-campus culinary arts program, you’ll want to check them out in person before making a decision. Take a tour, ask questions and evaluate whether the culinary facilities are up to par.
- Get your applications ready. Before you can start slicing and dicing, you’ll need to complete the applications for the schools of your choice. Pay careful attention to each school’s application fees and deadlines, including financial aid forms. Transcripts and letters of recommendation are additional materials most schools will ask to see.
Once you’ve been accepted for admission to your dream culinary school, what’s left? Organize your supplies and get ready to show off skills that sizzle!