How to Get a Culinary Arts Degree

By Barry Solomon , last updated December 11, 2011

If you love food and have a true passion for cooking and preparing wonderful dishes, then here is information about how to get a culinary arts degree that will help you to turn your passion into a career as a chef. But that's not all; many culinary arts graduates who don't like the pressured environment associated with restaurant kitchens find exciting and very gratifying work as food critics, food journalists for print or television, food stylists, and other related careers that are well served with a degree in culinary arts.

There are several top culinary arts programs that award either an associate's degree or a Bachelor of Arts degree. One of the most prestigious is the Culinary Institute of America, located in Hyde Park near Poughkeepsie, New York. Their program requires more than 1,300 hours in the kitchen and bake shop where students learn basic to advanced techniques as well as management skills and are given the latitude to develop their own personal talents for cooking. The school has a distinguished faculty of master chefs. And students get a great deal of practical experience through externships in over 1700 associated food service establishments all over the US. There is also a west coast food and wine seminar, which allows students to sample California-style healthy cooking. This is one of the most prestigious schools in the world and its graduates generally get top-level jobs in the industry.

The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco is a Le Cordon Bleu Program committed to the highest level of culinary arts and chef training. Their programs treat cooking as an art form and teach both contemporary and classical techniques. They also offer hospitality and restaurant management training. They have a program that awards an associates degree in as little as 18 months. And the school also has shorter length certificate programs for cooks and for bakers.

Besides the traditional colleges and vocational programs held at various schools around the country, there are several online programs that are worth considering. These are distance programs that offer both bachelor and masters level degrees in cooking and hospitality management. Startford University offers associate and bachelor degrees in hospitality management. To study culinary arts, you would have to attend in person so that you can get supervised cooking experience. But for hospitality management the degree can be obtained through online study that takes 60 weeks to complete for the associates degree and 180 weeks for the bachelor's.

Most of these programs require that you apply along with transcripts and a resume of your background. You need to demonstrate an aptitude for culinary arts. Restaurant experience is always useful to have in such an application along with letters of recommendation from former employees and teachers. The tuitions vary from one school to the next and there is liberal financial aid available for these programs based on talent and need. So if you have a passion for cooking and truly want to devote yourself to it through your career, a culinary arts degree is definitely the right path for you..

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