How to Choose the Best Culinary College

  • Which is the best culinary school for you?

    Before you make this all-important decision, we encourage you to visit different colleges’ websites and request viewbooks and catalogs to learn about their programs and resources. Then make an informed choice using the six criteria below.

    Six Key Traits of the Best Culinary Colleges:

    1. A Proven Track Record of Graduate Success

    Top culinary colleges have: 

    • High graduation and employment rates
    • Opportunities for long-term career success with attractive salaries
    • A large, successful alumni network
    • A strong industry reputation that provides access to national and international career opportunities

    2. An Emphasis on Academic and Hands-on Experiences that Prepare Students for the Business of Food

    The best culinary schools have: 

    • Food-focused business education that gives students the skills and knowledge to succeed in every segment of the food world
    • World-class teaching kitchens and extensive in-kitchen instruction hours
    • Real-world restaurant experiences on campus
    • Externships at leading restaurants, hotels, and resorts that provide valuable hospitality and food industry experience and connections

    3. An Experienced, Diverse, and Accomplished Faculty

    The best culinary colleges have: 

    • Balance of business and liberal arts professors with seasoned, experienced chef-instructors
    • Master Chefs or Master Bakers
    • Certified Hospitality Educators (CHEs), a certification assuring effective teaching
    • Diverse faculty representing a variety of cultures and experiences
    • “Celebrity” faculty who actually teach, not just endorse the school
    • Student/faculty ratios that provide individual mentoring
    • A “published” faculty; accomplished educators are often authors of leading texts as well

    4. An Accredited College Offering Bachelor’s Degree Programs

    Top culinary schools have: 

    • Bachelor’s degree programs that provide a strong foundation in culinary skills and build operational and management knowledge to prepare you for leadership positions
    • Regional accreditation by the appropriate accrediting commission for higher education, validating the quality of the curriculum and ensuring that your degree will be accepted by other institutions if you pursue further education

    5. A Vibrant Campus Community and Access to Cultural Resources

    The best culinary colleges have: 

    • A diverse student body and a variety of clubs, special events, and sports offerings
    • Attractive campus housing and recreational facilities, and a fun student life experience
    • Access to a major city where you can benefit from additional entertainment, cultural learning, and exposure to top restaurants and leading food businesses

    6. Superior Value, Backed by a Complete Financial Aid Program

    The best culinary schools have: 

    • A clear and readily accessible description of the most current tuition and other education expenses so you can compare the value of different programs
    • Degree options that give you broad industry access to maximize your career opportunity
    • A professional, experienced financial aid staff ready to address your needs
    • Scholarship opportunities to supplement federal and state aid programs
    • Continuing financial aid support for each year of study, not just the first year
  • Get CIA's Top Culinary Careers Whitepaper

  • Contact Us

    Admissions Office
    1946 Campus Drive
    Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499
    Phone: 1-800-CULINARY
    Alt. Phone: 845-452-9430
    Fax: 845-451-1068
  • Bachelor’s travel programs give you an exclusive “insider look” at world cultures and cuisines.
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