How Long is Culinary School?

A picture of a chef and some students in the kitchen to illustrate how long is culinary school

We understand completely: You’ve grown up watching cooking shows, culinary competitions, and food fights that award winners all kinds of goodies. Of course, many of these contestants already work in or own their own restaurants. To get to that level, you may need to build your skill set in an educational institution. But how long is culinary school?

Just like educational opportunities in other industries, there is no one right answer. If you grew up working in your family’s restaurant, you probably don’t need to attend culinary school at all. If you’d like to learn a different cuisine, some school may be needed. But if you don’t know your sommelier from your sous chef, formal culinary education is a necessity.

Some of the institutions may not even cover the business side of owning or running a restaurant. Many of those TV show contestants appear on cooking shows for notoriety and to make a name for themselves and their restaurants. For them, it’s much more than preparing the perfect main course.

Advantages of the Chef Apprentice School of Culinary Arts

It doesn’t matter if you’re a line cook at a diner or an executive chef at a fast-paced hotel kitchen, you need to understand the basics of food prep, product inspection, kitchen positions, and other basics. These are the technical aspects of becoming a chef, but when it’s time to create, you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

That’s where we believe our culinary arts program gives you the best opportunity to learn how to start a career in the food industry. We give you those technical skills, have you create more than 70 different dishes, and require you to document what you’ve learned. The entire time you’ll be working with a professional chef in their professional kitchen.

This isn’t a classroom setting with stations that resemble a commercial kitchen, this is the real deal. You’ll be working one-on-one with a chef in their environment, getting the experience that restaurant managers are looking for. And at the end of your Gourmet Chef 20-week program, we put your feet to the fire in a real-world kitchen preparing food for real-world people.

The key is you’ll be working in a real kitchen with a mentor that is working in the industry today. In six months, you’ll receive experience in a professional setting, making connections with others already making a living in the food service industry. These aren’t other students in a practice kitchen, this is the real deal.

That’s where the CASA Gourmet Chef Program really helps launch your culinary career. What makes more sense: sitting in a classroom setting for a couple of years (or more!) or getting experience in a real-world kitchen? The connections you make inside the industry help you build a list of references–or even get hired upon completing the program.

Many students who finish the program are hired to work in the kitchen they externed at or find work at other restaurants based on good words from their mentor. Do well during your externship and it’s like having a built-in letter of recommendation. CASA offers online programs, financial aid, and works with you to develop a schedule that fits your life.

With CASA, you’ll get a world-class education inside an immersive environment from a professional for just a fraction of the cost of a two or four-year (or longer!) degree. And instead of spending time in a practice kitchen, you’ll gain the experience hiring managers are looking for. How long is culinary school? Depends on how much time you’re willing to spend before starting your career.

In traditional education models of culinary arts, you will spend much more time and money with no connections, you can learn more about the length and scope of those models below.

How Long is Culinary School?

There are culinary school programs that last for a few months or culinary institute diploma programs that last several years. When choosing your career path, think about what you want for your future and how you want to get there.

Master’s Degree in Culinary Arts
When it comes to higher education in the culinary arts, a Master’s Degree is as high as you can go, at least on paper. If you’re looking to become an executive chef, start your own restaurant or catering business, or want to work at the top-notch establishments, a Master’s Degree education program will certainly get your foot in the door.

Master’s students learn about chemistry, food science, advanced classical techniques, and other skills. But if you’re going to enroll in a culinary Master’s Degree program, it’s an investment in money and especially in time. You will enroll in a Master’s program after finishing your Bachelor’s Degree, which is usually four years.

Bachelor’s Degree
As we said earlier, a Bachelor’s Degree in the culinary arts will take around four years. You’ll need this degree if you want to move on to the Master’s, but for some restaurants or hotels, this may be enough to jump into a management role, head chef, menu designer, or other administrative roles.

A Bachelor’s program will allow you to specialize a little bit more in your area of interest. And, in fact, you may be required to choose your path before starting: it could be as a pastry chef, a concentration on a certain region, or other specific cuisines. After four years, you may be able to side-step entry-level positions in some restaurants if a degree is required.

Associate’s Degree
This is the most basic of the degree programs and will require students to learn a wide range of general requirements before graduating. Some Associate’s degree programs may require you to take other classes that aren’t necessarily associated with cooking, such as math or science. But they will still have a culinary focus.

You’ll also learn about the hospitality industry, nutrition, restaurant operations, and other aspects. An Associate’s Degree may give you more caché than certificate programs, but you’ll need to spend two years in the program to graduate. And you’ll need this degree to move on to a Bachelor’s program.

How Long is Culinary School for Certificates Programs?
Certificate programs are the fastest way to get a jump on a career in the culinary arts. Lasting anywhere from a few months to a year, certificate programs work on more than the basics, but won’t be as involved as other diplomas programs. Students in these programs often have a background in the food service industry, but that’s not always the case.

Students will learn best practices and foundational skills to prepare them for work in a professional kitchen. This will include handling food safely, different cooking methods, nutrition, kitchen sanitation, and other necessities for working in a restaurant and other professional kitchens.

Choosing the Right Culinary School For You

Whether it’s a degree program, course certification, or a weekend workshop, you first need to figure out what you want from your culinary school education. In all reality, you never stop learning as a professional chef. The best never stop pushing themselves to create something new and exciting while holding true to time-tested favorites.

Start your culinary journey and become the chef you’ve dreamed of!

You will be mentored by an expert chef and gain real-world experience in an actual kitchen. Professional chefs have never been in such high demand and our job placement is unmatched in the industry.

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