Choose the Right Culinary Degree

Compare culinary degrees and certificates and choose the right one for you.

Compare Culinary Degree Choices

culinary student with teacher

Culinary degree programs often share much of the same curriculum, with an emphasis on hands-on learning.

Your decision on which culinary degree program to follow may boil down to what you can afford, how quickly you'd like to enter the job market and the nature of your future career plans.

If you want to finish quickly and start working as a sous-chef, a certificate might be your best option. If you aspire to become a chef, you may want a higher level of culinary education.

Culinary Certificates

A culinary certificate will often let you specialize in restaurant and food service production, or catering and banquet operations.

  • Does not count toward a BA
  • May not require a high school diploma/GED
  • Usually a 1-year program
  • Located in a community college or culinary institute
  • Coursework focuses on culinary applications only
  • Provides students with the foundation for a culinary career

Associate's Culinary Degree

Associate's degrees in culinary arts are the next level up. You'll take general education requirements, but also receive a more in-depth culinary education. In addition to required culinary arts courses, there are often electives in accounting, business and computer science, which will help you once you get a job in the culinary industry.

  • Counts toward a BA
  • Requires a high school diploma or GED
  • Usually a 2-year program
  • Located in a community college or culinary institute
  • Courses outside of culinary major are required
  • Provides student with a foundation for a culinary career