How Long Is Culinary School?

How Long Is Culinary School? As you look at school choices (yes, there are a lot of them!), you may wonder: how long does it take to complete culinary school?

How Long Is Culinary School?

So, you’ve decided that culinary education is in your future.


How Long Is Culinary School?

There is no easy solution.

You must account for the entire spectrum, from time spent studying fundamental concepts and cooking skills to more advanced subjects and gaining practical experience.

Depending on the length of culinary school chosen, the culinary school can last anywhere from a few short months to four years.

When you enroll, there are various options you can select and variables that can impact how long your studies will last. For instance, training to become a professional chef can last 2 to 4 years.

The challenge is choosing the one that’s right for you.

Types of Culinary School Programs

In addition to community colleges that provide a certificate or degree in a more classroom-focused environment, there are dedicated culinary schools that specialize in only that.

There are also four-year degree programs that integrate culinary arts with business and hospitality abilities.

1. Diploma or Certificate Programs

You can acquire the culinary expertise needed for entry-level work through a culinary school diploma or certificate program.

1. A diploma or certificate can be earned in about six to 12 months, on average.

2. Time frame depends on how much time you can devote to school.

3. It combines classroom learning and hands-on experience in the field of study.


2. Degree Programs

For the budding chef, a college degree offers a number of curricula.

You can find numerous culinary training alternatives at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s levels, depending on whether you choose an “arts” or “science” approach.

After earning a bachelor’s degree, you can acquire an associate’s degree in two years, a bachelor’s degree in four years, and a master’s degree in two years.

The time frame will depend on how much time you can commit to your studies.

Different colleges and universities emphasize different areas of the industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Percentile10%50% (Median)
Hourly Wage$ 14.86$ 24.11
Annual Wage (2)$ 30,910$ 50,160

By bringing an established skillset from culinary school – and indicating that you have the wherewithal to work hard and earn a degree you can be a big draw for hiring chefs.

Culinary school can also help prove your dedication to food as a career, not just a job.

But it’s even more important to be willing to work hard if you skip culinary school. While cooking skills can be picked up on the job, it’s not easy.

It takes years. Some would argue it never ends.

Total Culinary School Program Length: 30 to 60 Weeks

Job TitleSalary
Chef salaries – 1 salary reported$61,822/yr


If you have a culinary degree and/or trained under a notable chef and have moved up the ranks, you are typically considered a chef.

If you simply dabble in the kitchen at home or are just starting out at the bottom of the restaurant totem pole, you are almost always considered a cook.

You can become a successful chef without going to culinary school. There is no special degree or certification that makes someone a chef.

The title is earned through hard work and experience. Gordon Ramsay and award-winning chef Heston Blumenthal, for example, didn’t attend culinary school.

To earn and maintain stars for quality dining, chefs must be at the top of their game.

Many attend prestigious culinary arts schools to develop and perfect their signature dishes and techniques.

Becoming a five-star chef requires creativity, imagination, business acumen, and an unbridled passion for cooking.

At $52,160 per year, wages for chefs and head cooks reached an all-time high, surpassing the average national wage.

Wage growth and remuneration, in general, are not even across the US. Chefs are paid substantially more in some states than in others.

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CSN Team.

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