Culinary

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Do you like cooking for your friends? Do you love watching cooking shows? Maybe you should think about a career in the Culinary Arts!

What will I do?

Chefs and cooks prepare food in restaurants and other dining establishments, like hotels, hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. You will assist with preparation and presentation of meals. You will need to be able to measure ingredients and follow a recipe. You will need to keep your station clean and sanitary.

Igor Miske

What classes will I take?

You will take classes in basic cooking techniques, learning how to make various dishes. You will learn knife skills. You will also learn about basic kitchen safety and sanitation.

In addition to basic culinary certificates, schools may offer additional certificates in baking or kitchen management. Credits earned towards certificates should transfer to an associate’s degree.

What skills do I need to start school?

Kitchen skills are nice to have but aren’t necessary. You will need to have good listening skills. You’ll need to be able to follow directions. You will need basic math skills. You’ll need to multi-task: you’ll have a roast in the oven, a chicken in the fryer, and potatoes boiling on the stove!

What can I do with a certificate?

You will probably start out as a line cook. Line cooks typically work at one station in a kitchen. Sometimes they are referred to by their job position: fry cook or prep cook, for example. Culinary jobs typically have room for advancement. Line cooks who stick with it can eventually work their way up to kitchen manager or head chef.

Jane Yokata

How long does it take to complete a certificate?

Most school offer a 30 credit hour certificate that takes about a year to complete.

What can I do with an Associate’s Degree?

You will probably also start out as a line cook. Line cooks typically work at one station in a kitchen. Sometimes they are referred to by their job position: fry cook or prep cook, for example. Culinary jobs typically have room for advancement. Line cooks who stick with it long enough can work their way up to kitchen manager or head chef.

What are some challenges?

  • Chefs and cooks work very long hours; many work more than 40 hours a week. You may need to be at work very early in the morning or work very late at night. You may need to work over nights. Cooks often have to work weekends. If you are new to the job, you probably won’t get the best shifts.
  • Cooks stand on their feet for long periods of time.
  • The job can be very stressful. You may need to prepare several orders at once, quickly and accurately.
  • The starting pay can be low, but income varies greatly by region and employer. Pay is usually highest in upscale restaurants and hotels, as well as in big cities and at resorts.

How easy will it be to get a job?

In most parts of the country, good cooks are in high demand. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, job growth between 2016 and 2026 is around 10%, which is higher than average