The Culinary Institute of America

  • Foodservice Experience Requirement*

    For CIA Degree Programs Only

    * Please note that you do not need foodservice experience to apply for admission—the requirement must be met before entering the CIA.

    The CIA requires that you gain relevant experience before enrolling. This experience requirement is designed to help you understand the realities of working in the foodservice industry. Foodservice and hospitality is a rewarding and challenging profession, and we want to make sure you are confident in your career choice.

    Option 1

    • Work or volunteer for six months, 10–15 hours per week
    • Non-fast food facility
    • Back or front of house
    • Prep cook
    • Line Cook
    • Dish-Washer
    • Server
    • Hostess
    • Busser

    Option 2

    • Participate in a high school program that is active in Pro-Start, FCCLA, or SkillsUSA or that has a restaurant or café open to the public
    • At least one year

    Option 3

    • Complete 12 credits of college-level courses, including at least six credits from hands-on culinary courses
    • Must achieve at least a C+

    Supporting Documentation Needed:

    • Option 1: A letter of recommendation from either the supervisor or mentor is required discussing the work fulfilled by the student and length of time worked.
    • Option 2: A letter of recommendation from the teacher is required discussing either the student's work in the program's public restaurant or the program's involvement in SkillsUSA, ProStart, or FCCLA.
    • Option 3: An official college transcript.

    Wondering whether your foodservice experience qualifies?
    Check with our Admissions Department! Just e-mail or call us and we'll get you an answer ASAP— or 1-800-CULINARY.

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