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Culinary Arts


Culinary arts programs prepare people to cook and present meals in restaurants and other places that serve food.

Culinary arts programs teach people different cooking techniques and how to present meals. Students learn to plan menus and recipes. They also learn how to buy supplies, manage kitchens, and train staff.

Culinary arts programs include topics such as:


In culinary arts programs students may be able to specialize in:


Internships allow students to develop skills at companies or organizations. Many culinary programs require students to complete an internship at a restaurant.


Many specialized schools and community colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs in culinary arts. A certificate program usually takes a year of full-time study. An associate degree program usually takes two years of full-time study.

Some specialized schools and colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program of study by getting your high school diploma or GED.

Some programs require applicants who have either completed two years of college or have work experience. Many programs require a personal interview as well.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Many programs include an externship or practicum in their curriculum. This gives you the opportunity to practice what you've learned under the guidance and supervision of an experienced chef.

You might assist a chef in a restaurant owned by your culinary school, or you might work in an unaffiliated restaurant. Besides the real-world experience, an externship also exposes you to the different cooking styles of different chefs.

Things to Know

You are expected to purchase your own cooking tools and chef's uniform.

If your program does not offer an internship, seek one out on your own. An internship gives you working experience and exposes you to different cooking styles. You also make professional contact with potential employers or references.

A few different organizations offer certification as a culinary artist or chef. While certification is not required to be a chef, it does show potential employers your competence and knowledge of cooking.

Every state has different regulations for food safety and preparation in institutions such as restaurants. Check with your local health department or state restaurant association for more information on specific requirements. You may need to get a certificate in food safety before you can start working.


East Side Area

Job Corps - Columbia Basin

Walla Walla Community College

King-Snohomish Area

Edmonds Community College

Lake Washington Institute of Technology

Renton Technical College

Seattle Central College

South Seattle College

Kitsap Area

Olympic College

Spokane Area

Spokane Community College

Tacoma Area

Bates Technical College

Clover Park Technical College

Goodwill of the Olympics and Rainier Region

Tri-Cities Area

Columbia Basin College

Vancouver Area

Clark College

Northwest Culinary Institute

West Side Area

Bellingham Technical College

Skagit Valley College

South Puget Sound Community College

Yakima Area

Job Corps - Fort Simcoe