As you consider whether to enroll in a culinary arts program or to simply work your way up through the ranks in a professional kitchen, consider this: Culinary arts schools not only put you on the fast track to developing skills you need to launch your culinary career, most will also help you find a great job.
Whether you're looking for part-time work to help you pay your bills while you study, trying to find your first full-time job after completing your course work, or looking to change employers (or even shift your career focus) at any time post graduation, all culinary arts schools worth their salt will have career services centers ready to aid you in your search for employment.
What Culinary School Career Centers Can Do for You
Here are some of the typical services offered by culinary arts schools' career services departments:
- Full-time career counselors – Culinary arts schools' career services departments are typically staffed by professional career counselors who are more than willing to guide you toward your career. Whether you want someone to help you make sure your course work is in line with your career goals, need help honing your résumé, or want someone to keep an eye out for job listings that might be right for you, all you have to do is make an appointment, or make use of drop-in hours.
- Externship placement – As part of the curriculum at most culinary arts schools, you'll be required to complete an externship—i.e., work in a professional kitchen for a certain number of hours. Not only will you gain valuable hands-on experience during your externship, you'll make industry connections that will serve you well in the future.
- Career fairs – Most culinary arts schools' career services departments will host at least one career fair during the school year, and some will hold as many as one per quarter. At career fairs, area employers are invited to come meet students, take résumés and provide information about possible future employment.
- Job listings – Culinary arts schools typically have relationships with potential employers that allow them to amass extensive lists of available chef jobs—including jobs that might not be made known to the general public. Your career counselor will help you identify the opportunities that are right for you and help you connect with potential employers.
- Job finding workshops – Many career services departments at culinary arts schools hold workshops to teach you how to search for jobs, craft an irresistible résumé and interview like a seasoned professional.
Culinary Arts Schools Offer Lifelong Benefits
Most culinary arts schools are willing to hold your hand through the job search process, which is a great benefit for students. But beyond that, most schools make their career services departments available to their graduates for life—it doesn't get much better than that.