CIA Culinary Arts Associate Degree

  • Regardless of your experience level, at the CIA you can prepare for a rewarding culinary career through the CIA Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) in Culinary Arts degree program. Start with the fundamentals as you immerse yourself in culinary techniques as well as global cuisines. You’ll build a foundation of key skills utilized by every chef and then move to advanced coursework. The CIA’s industry-experienced faculty will ensure you receive a hands-on learning experience that provides you with the foundation for a successful career. After you’ve earned your degree in less than two years, you’ll be able to demonstrate expertise in preparing a wide variety of meals as well as be qualified to maintain state-of-the-art kitchen equipment and manage staff. A CIA associate degree is the perfect way to seamlessly enter our bachelor’s-level programs. Or hit the ground running by pursuing a CIA bachelor’s degree in your first year!


    • Understand the fundamentals of baking, nutrition, menu development, food safety, cost control, and wine.
    • Learn how to successful restaurateurs and chefs manage their businesses, high-end catering, food trucks, and other food-related operations.
    • Gain real-world experience through a semester-long paid internship at one of CIA’s 2,000+ food industry partners.
    • Develop your business skills with courses in management, communication, and finance.
    • Experience firsthand how successful restaurants are operated in our award-winning, student-staffed dining establishment, Gatehouse Restaurant. All CIA restaurants are public-facing, fully operational retail dining establishments that serve more than 333,000 customers annually.

    Ready to get started? Apply today!

    Plate Expectations

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment opportunities for chefs will grow nine percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the national average for other careers. You’ll find plenty of employment opportunities at restaurants, hotels, casinos, and other upscale dining establishments. Career options include:

    • Executive chef
    • Food and beverage management
    • Food writing
    • Media and public relations
    • Research and education
    • Hotel management
    • Restaurant ownership

    With so many possibilities, our Career Services staff is ready to help you every step of the way. There’s no network like the CIA network, which includes some of the world’s most renowned culinary, beverage, and hospitality experts.

    The list of celebrated CIA alumni is as diverse as it is extensive. They’ve found success doing what they love. Now it’s your turn.


    The 69-credit AOS in Culinary Arts degree program includes:

    • 54 credits in culinary arts requirements
    • 9 credits in liberal arts requirements
    • 6 credits in business management requirements

    You will get a hands-on experiential foundation in the culinary arts, including classic and contemporary cooking techniques, flavor and menu development, nutrition, wines, production cooking, and world cuisines.

    As part of your degree program, you’ll get real-world experience during a semester-long internship at one of more than 2,000 CIA-approved businesses, as well as in the kitchens and dining rooms of the CIA’s award-winning public restaurants.

    See catalog for curriculum details


    • A high school diploma or GED credential.
    • Recommendation—One character letter of recommendation is required. It should be from an employer, teacher, or professional colleague either within or outside the foodservice industry. The letter should address your commitment to the food world, problem-solving ability, and persistence in either work or academics.

    How to Apply

    Culinary School Costs

    The CIA is very committed to making your CIA education as affordable as possible. Our costs are comparable to similar colleges, and here’s even better news—more than 90% of our students receive some form of financial aid.

    Don’t let applying for financial assistance keep you from going to the world’s premier culinary college. No matter what your individual circumstances are, we will work with you to help make attending the CIA an affordable investment in your future in the world of food.

  • Get CIA's Top Culinary Careers Whitepaper

  • Are You Ready for the Future of Food? Find out from the premier culinary college, CIA
  • Available Enrollment Dates

    CIA California Culinary Arts associate degree enrollment date.
    CIA California Culinary Arts associate degree enrollment date.
    CIA California Culinary Arts associate degree enrollment date.
  • Contact Us

    Admissions Office
    2555 Main Street
    St. Helena, CA 94574
    Phone: 1-800-CULINARY
    Alt. Phone: 707-967-2496
    Fax: 845-451-1068
  • Michael Elegbede, CIA culinary arts alumni and owner, executive chef of ÌTÀN in Lagos, Nigeria.

    Alumni Spotlight

    Michael Elegbedé ’13
    Owner, Executive Chef, ÌTÀN
    Michael Elegbedé ’13, executive chef and owner of ÌTÀN in Lagos, grew up in and around kitchens in his native country of Nigeria.
    Rebecca Peizer ’00, CIA Associate Professor—Culinary Arts, California campus.

    Faculty Spotlight

    Rebecca Peizer ’00
    Professor—Culinary Arts
    First Place,Taste of Elegance National Pork Board Culinary Competition, Las Vegas, 2008. First Place, Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners "Sintonie" Culinary Competition, NYC, 2008. Employee of the Quarter, Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Las Vegas, 2007. Top 10 Sous Chefs in America, Bertolli Company and Food & Wine, 2002.
  • Bachelor’s travel programs give you an exclusive “insider look” at world cultures and cuisines.
    Learn More