CIA Culinary Arts Associate Degree

  • No matter what your experience level is, 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 in the first week, immersing yourself in classic and contemporary culinary techniques as well as global cuisines. You’ll build a foundation of key skills utilized by every chef before taking on more 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 basics 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 establishments that include the American Bounty Restaurant, The Bocuse Restaurant, and Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici. All CIA restaurants are public-facing, fully operational retail dining establishments that serve more than 333,000 customers annually.
    • Interact with more than 130 companies that visit CIA’s campus four times a year to recruit students. Discuss career opportunities with industry leaders, which include Boca Raton Resort and Spa, Dinex (Daniel Boulud’s Restaurant Group), Jean-Georges Restaurants, Make It Nice (Eleven Madison Park), Union Square Hospitality Group, and Walt Disney World, among many others.

    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.

    Learn more about specific course requirements


    • 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—approximately 92% 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.

  • Take CIA's Chef Quiz Now
  • Shirley Cheng, CIA Professor—Culinary Arts

    Faculty Spotlight

    Shirley Shuliang Cheng
    Professor—Culinary Arts
    Shirley Cheng has been creating excellence in the kitchens of the CIA for 18 years. While much has changed in her nearly two decades at the college, many of the most important ingredients have stayed the same. “We continue to provide high-quality education,” she says. “The reputation remains and the great chefs are still here. If anything, the school is operating on an even higher level. I’m happy to see how students love Asian cuisine. It’s a different culture for them, and they get excited. I never get tired of teaching it.”
    Adam Uranker, culinary arts ACE student at The Culinary Institute of America

    Student Spotlight

    Adam Urankar
    Associate Degree in Culinary Arts
    I looked on the CIA website and saw a student featured. Ever since then I have pushed myself to become a model student.
  • Did you know? 92% of CIA students receive scholarships and financial aid.
    Learn More