Top 10 Culinary Arts Schools


Every great chef has a story. A family member or a friend or a single dish that helped them fall in love with the art of food. Some are self-taught, and others come from a prestigious pedigree of professionals.

And every one can be better.

Even if your friends are already begging you for your recipes, or you’re working at an established restaurant, formal training from a culinary arts school can help you develop the expertise and skills you need to feel comfortable running your own professional kitchen.

Maybe you’re an entrepreneur at heart, and you just need a stronger culinary background to feel ready to launch your restaurant or bakery. Or, maybe you’re the Midas of bakers, and everything you touch already feels like it came from a Michelin star restaurant—but you have no idea what you’re doing on the business side.

Culinary arts schools have certificate and degree programs that include chef training, baking and pastry art, restaurant management, and more. Depending on the program, you could be ready to roll in as little as a few months.

There are numerous culinary arts schools that can give you the expertise you’re looking for, but we’re only going to show you the best of the best. To help you sort through the top schools in the U.S., we’ve used data from The National Center for Education Statistics and ratings from school-ranking entities like,,,, and

We’ll show you each school’s:

  • Location
  • Tuition cost
  • Program length
  • Admissions rate
  • Graduation rates
  • Student population
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Awards and accolades
  • Accreditation
  • Anything else we think will help you decide

Let’s find a culinary school you’ll love! For starters, here are some highlights:

Most affordable

Depending on the length and level of program you’re looking for, many of these schools offer affordable certificate programs.

But whether you’re looking for a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, one school is far more affordable than the rest. Henry Ford College comes in at #9 on our list, and even if you don’t live anywhere near Michigan, it’ll cost about $6,000 per year. You could get a bachelor’s degree for far less than some of these one year certificate programs cost. And let’s not forget, that’s without paying outlandish amounts of money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the U.S.

Best graduation rate

In any of these programs, you’re going to learn tips and tricks on day one that will make you a better chef. But if earning a certificate, diploma, or degree is the most important piece of this puzzle, I’d recommend L’Academie de Cuisine. It’s #8 on our list, and with a 92% graduation rate, you’re most likely to walk away with the credentials you’re looking for.

Best job placement rate

A lot of these schools have some pretty incredible programs to give you real-world experience that often translates into a job. One school’s culinary program even ends with a six month apprenticeship (the longest apprenticeship of any program at any school in the U.S.).

But if you’re choosing a school based on which one is most likely to land you a job, you’ll want to check out Kendall College (#4). 96% of their culinary arts graduates have jobs within 12 months of graduation.

What are contact hours?

You might already be familiar with the standard college system of credits, but a lot of the schools on this list tell you each program’s  “contact hours” instead. While a credit system doesn’t give you a very good picture of how much time a program takes (it involves some math), contact hours tell you exactly how many hours of your life you’ll spend in a given program . . . roughly. One contact hour is at least 50 minutes, but no more than 60.

Now, onto the top ten!

1. Institute of Culinary Education

Image source: Institute of Culinary Education

Location: New York, New York

Total tuition cost:

  • Culinary arts: about $37,000
  • Baking: about $36,000
  • Restaurant management: about $14,000
  • Hotel/Motel management: about $15,000

Program length:

  • Culinary arts: 650 contact hours (8 months)
  • Baking: 610 contact hours (8 months)
  • Restaurant management: 316 contact hours (7 months)
  • Hotel/Motel management: 636 contact hours (12 months)

Admissions rate: Open admission policy

Graduation rate: 81%

Student population: 500+

Student to faculty ratio: 8 to 1

Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Awards and accolades:

The Institute of Culinary Education was founded more than 40 years ago by culinary expert Peter Kump, who also cofounded the James Beard Foundation with Julia Child. The school offers six to 13-month certificates in culinary arts, pastry and baking arts, culinary management, and hospitality management.

Here’s what ICE says sets their school apart:

“With a global curriculum, dedicated chef instructors, a strong record in job placements and a clear entrepreneurial focus, ICE is recognized by top chefs and hospitality professionals as a leading pathway to begin or continue a wide range of culinary careers.”

Let’s take a look at how they describe each of their major programs:

School of Culinary Arts

“Your culinary roots will be grounded in classical French technique, however, your experience in the program will be unmistakably global. Thailand, India, Japan, Italy, Spain – the technique, ingredients and distinctive flavors of all these regions and others will be a part of your cooking school training. Our culinary arts program is designed to take you and your creativity anywhere in the industry, and more importantly, the world.”

School of Pastry & Baking Arts

“Drawing from the rich pastry training and baking traditions of France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland, as well as contemporary American variations, our Pastry & Baking Arts program is not only international in scope, but also constantly evolving through modern global influences.”

School of Restaurant and Culinary Management

“Our instructors have opened dozens of restaurants, catering businesses and food shops in New York City and around the world. Most are also active consultants, which means they have relevant experience working with budding entrepreneurs, just like you. Learn how to develop profitable concepts, write a business plan and market your venture to a target audience. Then, get a sense of how to troubleshoot restaurant and bar management issues concerning operations and staffing, analyze changing trends and make fiscal modifications to keep your business profitable.”

School of Hospitality Management

“Your curriculum will be a unique blend of in-classroom course work, role-playing, guest lectures by industry experts and field trips. Using NYC as your classroom, over the span of 438 hours, your experienced instructors will lay the educational foundation you need to achieve success in this expansive industry. This is followed by a 200-hour externship experience at the hotel or hospitality enterprise of your choosing.”

About half of ICE’s externships lead to a job.

See what a day in the life as one of ICE’s students looks like:

You can also take a virtual tour of their 74,000 square foot New York City campus:

Noteworthy alumni:

  • Gail Simmons
  • Mark Murphy
  • Claudia Fleming
  • Maxime Bilet
  • Vivian Howard
  • Missy Robbins

2. The International Culinary Center

Image source: International Culinary Center

Location: New York, New York

Total tuition cost:

  • Culinary arts: about $21,000 or about $39,000, depending on the program
  • Baking and pastry arts: about $11,000–$39,000, depending on the program
  • Wine steward: about $11,000

Program length:

  • Culinary arts: 2–6 months
  • Baking and pastry arts: 2–6 months
  • Wine steward: 3 months

Admissions rate: Open admission policy

Graduation rate: 88%

Student population: about 500

Student to faculty ratio: 10 to 1

Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 1
  • Rank on 3
  • Rank on 3
  • Rank on 3
  • Rank on 4

The International Culinary Center wants to provide students with the maximum education in the minimum time.

They offer programs in professional culinary arts, professional pastry arts, cake techniques and design, international bread baking, and sommelier training. Additionally, they also offer a unique “farm to table” program, an Italian cuisine program that involves cooking in Italy, and a suite of one-day culinary classes.

Here’s what ICC wants you to know about their school:

“Through our award-winning, Total Immersion curriculum, learn the fundamentals from experienced chef-instructors who expect the best from you. Our intensive, fast-track programs set you on a path for professional success in just months. . . . From day 1, you’ll learn fundamental techniques to keep building upon throughout your culinary training, and your lifetime. These classical techniques, first codified by the French, open the door to all different cuisines. It’s the skills and confidence you learn at ICC, merged with your own ambition, that sets the rhythm for your career.”

This is the story of The International Culinary Center:

And here’s what ICC says about their main programs:

Professional culinary arts

“In 600 hours of training, The ICC’s Professional Culinary Arts program combines both hands-on instruction and theory into one comprehensive program. Each class begins with a short lesson from your chef-instructor, who will outline terminology, relevant food history, the reasons behind various cooking techniques, and the rationale behind following procedures in a specific order. Before you make anything for the first time, your chef-instructors will demonstrate—providing instruction and showcasing the correct techniques . . .”

Professional pastry arts

“Professional Pastry Arts combines both hands-on instruction and theory into one comprehensive program. Each class is designed to highlight vocabulary, kitchen organization and equipment using ICC’s original recipes that feature fundamental techniques and skills used by professionals. . . . At the conclusion of the program, you’ll be prepared to meet the demands of working in a professional kitchen, with the proper techniques, work habits, and attitude necessary to succeed in the real world.”

Cake technique and design

“Cake design is in the spotlight: Growing industry demand gives you the opportunity to turn your passion for baking into a career creating the cakes of your dreams. ICC has developed a special program for bakers who see cakes through an artist’s lens, offering a comprehensive 300-hour curriculum in cake techniques and design—an unparalleled hands-on experience in small classes led by knowledgeable chefs. Whether you are a home baker with aspirations of starting your own business or a pastry chef who wants to expand your range, Cake Techniques & Design is the ideal way to add another tier to your cake career.”

Here’s what the visiting master pastry maker says of the program:

Art of international bread baking

“The professional bread baking program is structured to simulate the demands of a professional kitchen or bakery. Your class will be divided into small groups, each responsible for completing a set number of breads each day. You’ll work as a team to accomplish the day’s assignments, developing time management, planning and communication skills that will serve you well in your career. Learning to make bread requires hands-on practice, and students get their own steam-injection deck oven. Each class ends with an evaluation, establishing a framework for assessing quality.”

Here’s a look at what the program includes:

Sommelier training

“Students learn how to taste and evaluate bottles from around the world and, at the end of the course, have the option to take, on-site, the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Introductory and Certified Sommelier Examinations—a valued and internationally recognized credential. Course is taught by Master Sommelier and Dean of Wine studies, Scott Carney, who has held leadership positions at Les Halles Group, The Glazier Group and Jean-Georges Management.”

The ICC has 11 master sommeliers on staff.

Here’s what the intensive program entails:

Noteworthy alumni:

  • Dan Barber
  • Bobby Flay
  • Josh Skenes
  • Christina Tosi
  • Susanna Yoon
  • Hooni Kim

3. Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park

Image source: Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park

Location: Hyde Park, New York

Total tuition cost: about $31,000 per year

Program length: 2 years or 4 years

Admissions rate: 94%

Graduation rate: 73%

Student population: about 2,800

Student to faculty ratio: 17 to 1


  • Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 1
  • Rank on 2
  • Rank on 2
  • Rank on 6

The Culinary Institute of America goes beyond diplomas and certificate to offer both associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in the culinary arts. They offer AA degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts, plus bachelor’s degrees in food business management, food studies, and culinary science.

CIA’s motto is “Food is big business,” and that’s why their programs go well beyond the craft of food preparation to provide you with courses in business, accounting, human resources, and marketing to make you a valuable asset to any restaurant—and even more equipped to run your own.

CIA has more on-campus restaurants than any other culinary school in the world, which provides an exceptional real-world learning environment. And on top of that, 100% of CIA’s students participate in externships.

Here’s what else they’d like you to know about their school:

And now let’s see what they say about their main programs:

AA in culinary arts

“You’ll complete your degree in two of our award-winning, student-staffed restaurants—the American Bounty Restaurant, The Bocuse Restaurant, or Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici—learning firsthand how to operate a successful restaurant from both the front and back of the house.”

AA in baking and pastry arts

“You’ll complete your degree in our student-staffed Apple Pie Bakery Café, learning firsthand how to run a successful bakery café operation from both the front and back of the house. You’ll also prepare the breads, plated desserts, chocolates, and confections for one of our on-campus fine-dining restaurants.”

BBA in food business management

“Food is big business, and opportunities abound. In our Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Food Business Management degree program, you’ll gain the leadership skills, management know-how, and entrepreneurial knowledge to build a successful career in this thriving industry. There’s no other program in the world offering business education this food-focused.”

In addition to a highly relevant business education, you’ll get 1,300 hours of hands-on experience in CIA’s kitchens and bakeshops.

BPS in applied food studies

“Food is big business, and companies are increasingly in need of expertise in food policy, community involvement, global issues, food systems management, and much more. Our innovative Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Applied Food Studies degree program will prepare you to make an impact—and become an influential leader—in this growing and rapidly evolving industry.”

This program includes 1,300 hours of hands-on experience in CIA’s kitchens and bakeshops.

Here’s how some of CIA’s professors describe this unique program:

BPS in culinary science

“CIA graduates are found not only in the finest restaurants, but in the research kitchens of leading food companies, too. In our Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) in Culinary Science degree program, you’ll study the scientific foundations of food production and get started on the path to a fascinating and rewarding career in the food business.”

This program includes 1,300 hours of hands-on experience in CIA’s kitchens and bakeshops.

Here’s what the culinary science program looks like:

4. Kendall College

Image source: Kendall College

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Total tuition cost: about $20,000 per year

Program length: 2 or 4 years

Admissions rate: 84%

Graduation rate: 38%

Job placement rate: 96% within 12 months

Student population: 1,200+

Student to faculty ratio: 9 to 1

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 5
  • Rank on 6
  • Rank on 6
  • Rank on 8

Kendall College offers three associate’s degrees and one bachelor’s degree in culinary arts through their School of Culinary Arts.

Here’s what students and professors have to say Kendall College’s Culinary Arts School:

At Kendall College, your instructors include two master bakers, a registered dietician, certified executive chefs, authors, and pastry chefs, all of whom have at least 10 years of experience in the industry.

Here’s how they describe their main programs:

AAS in culinary arts

“Our A.A.S. in Culinary Arts degree program uniquely fuses the art and science of cooking with an introduction to critical business management practices. . . . At Kendall, we start with the fundamentals, then incorporate advanced culinary techniques and skills. You will practice your skills in on-campus restaurants including our Zagat-rated, Michelin Guide recommended fine-dining restaurant that is open to the public and staffed with Kendall students in a variety of service capacities.”

AAS in baking and pastry

“Through a combination of lectures taught by renowned master bakers and hands-on application in our commercial-grade bakeshop facilities you will develop a signature style and add the essential ingredient to your pastries and baked goods—your unique touch. . . . You will equip yourself with a wide breadth of expertise as you advance through chocolate courses, confectionary classes and a specialized course entirely focused on wedding cakes.”

Accelerated AAS in culinary arts

“Many of our students discover their true passion for food and foodservice later in life, after they’ve already acquired an undergraduate degree or spent significant time in other industries. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, this fast-track program allows you to earn a two-year degree in only five quarters. Students receive the same depth of culinary education as the traditional A.A.S. program, without repeating general education requirements completed at other colleges.”

BA in culinary arts

“While earning your Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts you will learn firsthand how to plan, build, promote, and run a flourishing culinary business, as our curriculum hones in on the necessary business savvy needed in the modern food and restaurant industries. With the strong general education foundation at Kendall College you will also gain critical math, computer, language, and communication skills that are vital to success no matter what field you enter.”

Note: Kendall College’s transfer rate is 38%. While that’s only a little higher than the national average (about one in three college students transfer schools), it’s also the same as their graduation rate. So you’re just as likely to change schools as you are to graduate from KC.

5. New England Culinary Institute

Image source: Chef’s Roll

Location: Montpelier, Vermont

Total tuition cost:

  • Culinary arts: about $25,000–$90,000, depending on the program
  • Baking and pastry arts: about $73,000
  • Restaurant management: about $25,000
  • Hospitality administration: about $32,000

Program length:

  • Culinary arts: 60–137 credits (24–42 months)
  • Baking and pastry arts: 77 credits (24 months)
  • Restaurant management: 60 credits (24 months)
  • Hospitality administration: 60 credits (24 months)

Admissions rate: Open admission policy

Graduation rate: 38%

Student population: 300

Student to faculty ratio: 21 to 1

Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 2
  • Rank on 5
  • Rank on 7

The New England Culinary Institute offers a variety of culinary degrees and certificates through their culinary arts program, baking and pastry arts program, and food and beverage business management program. They even offer several of these culinary degrees online.

Here’s a look at their main programs:

Culinary arts

Programs: certificate, AOS, BA

Each tier of the culinary arts program adds a new layer to your experience. The certificate in professional cooking gives you the building blocks you need to start a career in the foodservice industry, including sanitation, scaled food-production, food sourcing, and other culinary basics. The AOS degree adds an externship and additional hands-on experience, and the BA degree adds additional lab work and practicums, business courses, significantly more hands-on experience, and more.

Baking and pastry arts

Programs: certificate, AOS, BA

“From the very first day of class, our Baking and Pastry Arts students learn how to create award-winning breads, sumptuous desserts, and other tempting baked goods in our on-site retail outlets. This work requires all five senses, intuition, attention to detail, and pure passion.”

Food and beverage business management

Programs: certificate, AOS, BA

“Finance, human resources, technology, service, purchasing and communication are only a few of the areas you will need to understand for career advancement in management or entrepreneurship. . . . Our Chef-Instructors have impressive careers as industry professionals and will teach you how to put theory into practice every day. We’ll help you choose and prepare for careers that might not even exist yet!”

Here’s what one of NECI’s instructors has to say about their programs:

Notable alumni:

  • Melissa Close-Hart
  • Gavin Kaysen
  • Ford Fry
  • Jamie Eisenberg
  • Lauren K. Stein
  • Benito Molina Dubost

6. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

Image source: LinkedIn

Location: Boulder, Colorado

Total tuition cost:

  • Culinary arts: about $10,000 or about $25,000 depending on the program
  • Baking and pastry arts: about $22,000

Program length:

  • Culinary arts: 52 credits (13 months) or 66 credits (10 months)
  • Baking and pastry arts 46 credits (8 months)

Admissions rate: Open admission policy

Graduation rate: 72%

Job placement rate: 90% for pastry arts graduates

Student population: about 700

Student to faculty ratio: 41 to 1

Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 3
  • Rank on 8
  • Rank on 9
  • Rank on 9
  • Rank on 9

The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers an associate’s degree in culinary arts, as well as diplomas in culinary arts, pastry arts, and home cooking classes. You can earn the culinary arts diploma online.

Here’s how they describe their unique French approach to culinary arts:

“In the tradition of French culinary schools, we prepare our students for exciting, satisfying careers in professional programs focused on farm-to-table philosophy and based on the methods, principles and systems of Chef Auguste Escoffier, the international culinary icon.”

Want to know who you’re learning from? You can read bios for all of Escoffier’s chef instructors.

Here’s a little more about their main programs:

Culinary arts

“Our Boulder culinary school offers immersive culinary learning through our Farm To Table® Experience where you can enhance skills and theory in your classes through working with local food producers on an area farm and in neighborhood restaurants during an industry externship. Our accredited culinary arts program can prepare you for the dynamic culinary landscape in Boulder or beyond in restaurants, hotels and other food service settings around the country or the world.”

Here’s what it’s like to be a culinary arts student at Escoffier:

Pastry arts

“Through our baking and pastry school curriculum, you can learn in small classes mentored by field-experienced chef educators in this nationally accredited diploma program. Pastry and baking school students can hone specialized skill areas such as bread and patisserie, or focus on more general pastry cuisine.”

90% of Escoffier’s pastry arts graduates secured jobs.

Here’s what the pastry arts program looks like:

Here’s what a former student (and executive chef) has to say about Escoffier:

Note: According the NCES, Escoffier’s student to faculty ratio is more than double the national average for all colleges and universities, but Escoffier’s site says “small class sizes” is one of the reasons people go there.

Fun fact: Escoffier offers its graduates lifelong job placement assistance.

7. Johnson & Wales University-Providence

Image source: Common App

Location: Providence, Rhode Island

Total tuition cost: about $31,000 per year

Program length: 2 years or 4 years

Admissions rate: 88%

Graduation rate: 62%

Student population: 9,300+

Student to faculty ratio: 20 to 1

Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutes of Higher Education

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 4
  • Rank on 4
  • Rank on 10
  • Rank on 10

Johnson & Wales University is a business school that’s more than a century old. They offer the widest selection of culinary arts-related degrees.

With such a rich tradition in business education, you can expect JWU to provide you with a well-rounded culinary arts experience, so you can feel comfortable with every aspect of the foodservice industry.

At JWU, you can earn a bachelor of science (BS) in:

You can earn associate of science (AS) in:

And you can earn a certificate in professional craft brewing.

They also offer master’s-level business degrees that can significantly add to your management expertise.

JWU’s transfer rate is 2%. That’s more than ten times less than the national average. Once people start at JWU, they stay there.

8. L’Academie de Cuisine

Image source: L’Academie-de-Cuisine

Location: Gaithersburg, Maryland

Total tuition cost: about $30,000 per year

Program length: 50 weeks

Admissions rate: N/A

Graduation rate: 92%

Job placement rate:

  • Culinary arts: 88%
  • Pastry arts: 95%

Student population: 100+

Student to faculty ratio: 16 to 1


  • Maryland Higher Education Commission
  • Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 7
  • Rank on 8

L’Academie de Cuisine offers certificate programs in both culinary arts and pastry arts. These programs culminate in a pretty exceptional career-launching opportunity, which likely contributes to the school’s high placement rate.

Here are a couple things L’Academie thinks you should know about their programs:

“Each student spends 80% of their classroom time in hands-on kitchen instruction and our small class size fosters a personalized learning experience. . . . Every L’Academie education culminates in a six month paid apprenticeship, which often leads to a job immediately following graduation.”

L’Academie’s paid apprenticeship program is the longest apprenticeship offered in any program at any school in the U.S. You’ll work 35 hours per week for 26 weeks under the supervision of both an experienced chef and the L’Academie staff.

Here’s how they describe their programs:

Culinary arts

“At L’Academie, culinary students learn theoretical skills and techniques necessary for a successful career in the foodservice industry and graduate with significant industry experience. We ensure our students are prepared to enter culinary-related fields including cooking, food research, teaching, catering, and beyond. . . . Each program is an intimate learning experience with no more than 24 students per instructor. This gives our students direct access to culinary instructors, allowing you to gain personal and first-hand knowledge of what it takes to become a professional culinary chef.”

Here’s how the director (and chef instructor) describes the program:

Pastry arts

“Pastry is a rigorous art and precise science. Designed by former White House Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier, our curriculum covers not only the theory that informs beautiful and delicious pastry, but also the real-world skills students need to succeed in professional kitchens.”

Here’s an assistant instructor’s take on the diversity of pastry arts:

If you want to know who you’ll be learning from, L’Academie has some detailed faculty bios for you to explore.

9. Henry Ford College

Image source: Henry Ford College

Location: Dearborn, Michigan

Total tuition cost:

  • In-district: about $3,000 per year
  • In state: about $4,500 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $6,000 per year

Program length: 1–4 years

Admissions rate: Open admission policy

Graduation rate: 6%

Student population: 12,600+

Student to faculty ratio: 20 to 1


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • American Culinary Federation Education Foundation

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 5
  • Rank on 10

Henry Ford College offers certificate, AAS, and BS programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry, and hotel/restaurant management.

Here’s a look at HFC’s culinary arts department:

To help you decide which program is right for you, HFC asks a series of questions:

Culinary arts

“Do you love to cook and receive the instant appreciation and genuine reactions from your guests? Will you lead the industry with the best sustainable practices, the next trend in cuisine or the steadiness of a businessperson? As a chef, how will you compete in this fast-paced career? As a restaurateur, caterer, executive, or educator?”

Baking and pastry

“Do you see yourself opening a bakery or café where you and your staff design and create stylish cakes or artisan breads and sweets? Will you be preparing hundreds of fine desserts for catered events in one of the best hotels, restaurants or catering venues? How will you re-invent the food business by using time-tested skills and techniques in new ways?”

Hotel/restaurant management

“Do you see yourself working in a freshly-pressed suit in the midst of a bustling metropolitan hotel? Will you be planning parties and catered events in some of the best restaurants, hotels or catering venues? In what new ways will you attract guests to your property and keep them coming back?”

Note: Henry Ford College has a transfer rate of 39%. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal, but with a graduation rate of 6%, it’s a lot more likely that if you start your education here, you’ll transfer somewhere else. Just something to keep in mind.

10. Pierpont Community and Technical College

Image source: WV Always

Location: Fairmont, West Virginia

Total tuition cost:

  • In state: about $5,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $11,000 per year

Program length:

Admissions rate: Open admission policy

Graduation rate: 16%

Student population: 1,900+

Student to faculty ratio: 15 to 1


  • Higher Learning Commission
  • American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission

Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on 5

Pierpoint Community and Technical College offers a food service management AAS degree with four culinary arts-related specializations.

Here’s how the faculty describes the program:

Upon successful completion of each program track, here’s what you can expect:

Culinary arts

“Students who graduate from this nationally recognized Culinary Arts specialization (accredited through the American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission) will have an outstanding foundation of theoretical and practical cooking experience on which to pursue a career in the foodservice industry. Graduates of the Culinary Arts specialization will be eligible to sit for the exam offered by the American Culinary Foundation to become Certified Culinarians.”

Dietary manager

“Graduates of the Dietary Management option will be qualified for jobs that require them to perform menu planning, food purchasing, food production and service, financial management, employee recruitment, training and supervision and (in some settings) nutritional assessment and clinical care duties. This work is challenging and involves caring for people and working with people. Working conditions may include varied hours, long days and the requirement to juggle multiple demands, including working with both people and paperwork.”

Pastry and baking arts

“Graduates of this nationally recognized Pastry & Baking Arts specialization (accredited through the American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission) will have an outstanding foundation on which to pursue a career in the foodservice industry with the specialized skills of a pastry cook. Typical job titles include pastry cook; pastry chef’s assistant; and pantry cook. Prospective workplaces include restaurants, country clubs, resorts, hotels, retirement homes, cruise ships, supermarkets, and catering operations.”

Resort and hotel management

“Graduates of the Resort & Hotel Management option will be able to help meet the growing demands of the hotel, resort, and tourism segments of the industry by being trained to provide support services for the hospitality and lodging industries. Graduates will be able to apply their specialized training in entry-level to middle management positions, and will be particularly prepared for ‘front house’ operations as a result of their studies in guest services, housekeeping, catering and banquets, and front desk operations. Graduates of this Resort & Hotel Management option will have the added benefit of having had classroom experience in Culinary Arts, which may likely enhance their employability.”

Where’s Le Cordon Bleu?

You might’ve noticed a certain prestigious culinary arts school isn’t on our list. Unfortunately, Le Cordon Bleu is closing all of their U.S. locations. So they aren’t accepting new students. While they have some incredible programs, we weren’t going to waste your time talking about an educational experience you can’t get anymore.

A quick note on transferring schools

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than one third of all college students transfer schools before graduating. In order to transfer your credits from one school to another, the two schools usually have to be accredited by the same organizations.

A lot of the schools on this list are accredited by national accrediting bodies, which makes them less transferable than programs accredited by regional accrediting bodies. Most of these programs are pretty short, but if you think you might change your mind about where you want to be and what you want to do, pay attention to who your school of choice is accredited by.

The best school is really up to you

We can’t tell you exactly which culinary arts school is the best choice for you—and you shouldn’t let anyone else do that, either. You have to weigh the factors that are most important to you and let that guide your decision. Choosing a school is a huge investment—both in terms of what it immediately costs you and how it affects your life. So take your time.

We hope this list has helped make the decision a little easier for you. Good luck in your future studies!

Ryan Nelson
Ryan has a B.A. in English Literature from Western Washington University. If he could rewind and go to college all over again, he'd do it a little differently. For now, he's living vicariously through people like you by helping you find the best online schools for your field.

1 Comment

  1. Very good article and helpful for students who wish to join a culinary school in America. I request the author to come up with a list best culinary Schools in Asia so that the students from this part of the globe will benefit .Your article has covered all aspects of selecting a culinary school. In India we also run a culinary school by name culinary academy of India from over two decades .We would like to see as to where we stand in Asia if evaluated by a foreign individual.
    Thank you.
    Tirumula SRR
    Culinary Academy of India.

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