CIA Culinary Arts Associate Degree

  • No experience necessary! At the CIA, you can prepare for a rewarding culinary career through the CIA Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Culinary Arts degree program. Starting with the fundamentals, you’ll immerse yourself in classic and contemporary culinary techniques as well as global cuisines. 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 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, Nao. All CIA restaurants are public-facing, fully operational retail dining establishments that serve more than 333,000 customers annually.

    Ready to start? Apply today!

    Plate Expectations

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 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 AAS in Culinary Arts degree program includes:

    • 48 credits in culinary arts requirements
    • 15 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, food systems, 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 CIA’s award-winning public restaurants.

    See catalog for curriculum details

    Requirements for Admission

    • 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.

  • Justin Ward, CIA Lecturing Instructor—Culinary Arts

    Faculty Spotlight

    Justin Ward ’88
    Assistant Professor—Culinary Arts
    BS, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta. AOS, CIA.
    Hinnerk VonBargen, CIA Associate Professor in Culinary Arts at our San Antonio campus.

    Faculty Spotlight

    Hinnerk von Bargen
    Professor and Team Leader—Culinary Arts
    Originally from Rotenburg/Wûmme, Germany, I hold a Master Chef Certificate from the Chamber of Commerce in Hamburg. Having been raised in the family-owned Hotel—Zum Schwarzen Ochsen—I found my vocation early and hospitality continues to be a way of life for me. Before coming to the CIA, I held professional positions at The Kempinski Hotel, Beijing, China; The Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg Germany; The Cascades Hotel, Sun City, Bophutatswana, South Africa; and The Plaza Hotel, Hamburg, Germany.
  • Our public restaurants make it real—you prepare and serve meals to customers right on campus.
    Learn More