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Is it Worth Going to Culinary School?


When you are weighing your options for entering the culinary field, a big question of education comes into play. While there are pros and cons to each side, making an informed decision based on your career goals, experience and where you are located/want to be can help you to decide if you are going the right direction and if culinary school is worth the go.

What is Culinary School?

Culinary-SchoolWhile nearly everyone knows that culinary school is a cooking school to learn the culinary arts. There are most pieces to the situation that make culinary school a valuable experience. Culinary school not only teaches you basic cooking skills like how to properly use knives, but also the techniques for how to cook each type of pastries at pastry school, meat, and vegetable. You also learn how to use modern techniques, plating, creation of sauces, and attend apprenticeships where you learn with a chef’s supervision.

You will learn all of the basic techniques for cooking, planning and running a kitchen to make you successful in your career. Things you’ll want to know:

  • Culinary school is hard;
  • Culinary school can be stressful; but
  • Becoming a chef can be a great career goal for those have a passion for cooking.

Culinary school is designed to teach you things that would take years to learn firsthand working in a kitchen all while in a learning environment and with a skilled instructor. Learning the different styles, flavor profiles, and skills that you will need makes it a priceless asset.

How long does Culinary School Last?

Based on the program that you attend, the length and complexity of the program can vary. Many institutions offer accelerated and specialty paths so you can reach more focused goals such as pastry chef, baker, or head chef. In these programs, you can expect to not only learn cooking fundamentals, but also what you will need to be successful on that path.

Accelerated or focused paths can consist of 6 months worth of courses to focus on the specific type of cooking or baking you chose. For more well-rounded cooking programs, you can expect to be in school for 9 months to a year. These courses allow you to spend time in the classroom and also in a kitchen to practice what you are learning, make connections, and develop skills needed for the workforce.

How much is Culinary School?

Culinary-School-EXPENSESOn average, the price tag for culinary school averages around $30,000. This can vary based on location, degree path, scholarships, and financial aid. The costs include the classroom time, the labs, and apprenticeship programs. Many great schools also help after graduation with career searches and resume building to ensure that you get into the field of your dreams.

How much money do you make after Culinary School?

After attending culinary school, you will likely be making an increased salary from if you hadn’t gone. But it still takes years to work your way to head or executive chef where the larger salaries are.

  • Cooks (those that work in a kitchen but have not attended a secondary education) make an average of $25,000 a year.
  • On average, chefs make around $30,000 per year depending on locality and skills.
  • Once you work your way up to head chef, the average increases to $55,000 per year.
  • Executive chefs can make salaries up to $100,000 depending on the restaurant you work in.

While you won’t start making the same pay as top chefs, having a culinary education unlocks those steps in the career path for you to get to. So while the difference starting out may not seem like a lot, being a chef unlocks the top tier careers such as executive and head chef that are otherwise very difficult to obtain.

Pros of Culinary School

culinary school,With culinary school, you gain the skills needed to make yourself success in your career. Some of the obvious benefits are that you get to spend your time learning skills that take years to learn in a kitchen in less than a single year in your program.

Another benefit of culinary school involves the variety of styles that you learn in a short period of time. When working in a specific restaurant, you learn that particular style of food. In school, you learn multiple types of cooking that you can use to move around in styles for your career.

Culinary school also provides you with a diverse connection series that include colleagues, instructors, restaurants, and individuals within the industry. Having these can help you to secure the best jobs and move up in the restaurant world.

Finally, a well noted benefit is the esteem that comes from it. Having a culinary degree assists in getting your foot in the door and granting you access to opportunities that you may not otherwise have. In addition, there is a level of professionalism that comes with the degree that some restaurants and industry leaders look for.

When you are deciding if you want to go to Culinary School, there are multiple factors that you have to take into account. You’ll earn a lot while in the classes, gain all types of experience with food types, practice techniques, and make connections that last a lifetime. With those as options and benefits, it makes culinary a large contender for helping you meet your goals in your career.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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