A culinary college education offers unparalleled preparation for becoming a professional chef, baker, or pastry chef. Along with building a practical, hands-on skill foundation in food, you will also learn about business, leadership, working as a team, menus, costing, world cuisines and cultures, and so much more. The food business is exciting, fast-paced, and always changing, so you need a broad base of knowledge to make your mark as a culinary professional and be ready for the future of food. Find out more about how to become a chef.
When it comes to professional bakers vs. professional pastry chefs, the fundamental difference is what they specialize in making, though there can be some crossover. Bakers create “dough-centric” products like breads, from flatbreads and baguettes to sourdoughs and seasonal breads. A pastry chef focuses on the sweet side of the profession, creating cakes, tarts, pastries, frozen desserts, and more. The baking and pastry arts degree programs at The Culinary Institute of America prepare future professionals for both sides of this delicious industry segment. For an example of a successful bread baking company headed by a CIA graduate, see the Bread Alone story.
An interest in and knowledge of wine—and food!—is critical for success as a sommelier, the professional who is in charge of wines for a restaurant and who recommends food and wine pairings for customers. The world of wines and beverages is both fascinating and complex, so college study—such as The Culinary Institute of America’s wine studies courses, advanced wine and beverage bachelor’s degree concentration and master’s degree in wine management—can prepare you to become a sommelier or other wine professional. Learn more about how to become a sommelier.
Connections with industry employers are crucial,and Culinary Institute of America graduates have the distinct advantage of being members of the most powerful alumni network in food and hospitality. Another benefit of earning a degree from the CIA is the free, lifelong career support you will receive from our Center for Career and Academic Advising. You’ll have access to Culinary Connect, our exclusive food and hospitality jobs database, and you can meet and interview with employers at CIA Career Fair at any time in your career.
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A lot! Just like at non-culinary colleges, The Culinary Institute of America prepares you for a wide variety of careers and gives you many associate and bachelor’s degree majors to choose from:
No matter which academic path or subjects you choose at the CIA, you will graduate with a powerful combination of foundational hands-on skills, professionalism, critical thinking skills, and business and management savvy you need for success in food and hospitality.
And when you’re ready to take your food and beverage knowledge to the next level, you can earn your master’s degree from the CIA:
There are so many things you can do with a culinary degree (or one in baking and pastry, food business management, culinary science…)! The opportunities in the food and hospitality industry are vast and varied. Perhaps the best way to learn more about what you can do with a culinary degree is to read about the career paths of Culinary Institute of America alumni. They’re leading the industry, doing what they love, and changing the world through food all at the same time.
Nurture your passion for food in every way you can! In addition, you can get experience working in the food industry and/or enroll in a vo-tech program at your high school. While neither are a requirement for culinary school, they can be a great way for you to explore.
If your interests include The Culinary Institute of America, it’s also a great idea to come to campus for one of our campus visit programs and events, like an Open House or Journey for Juniors. Experiencing the CIA firsthand and envisioning yourself as a CIA student is one of the best ways to mentally prepare for culinary school!
In all that we do, and since our founding in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America has earned a stellar reputation as the best culinary school in America—and the world. Not only does the CIA prepare the future leaders of food and hospitality for careers in every area of the industry, the college leads that industry and drives change around the globe through its innovative curricula, strategic partnerships, research, expert consulting, and the achievements of its more than 50,000 influential alumni. Learn more about the factors that make a culinary school the best.
Deciding on culinary school is all about getting the best return on your investment. A degree from a college of the caliber of The Culinary Institute of America will return big dividends throughout your career, with higher earning potential, the door-opening advantage of a prestigious credential, and more. So, yes, it is definitely worth it to go to culinary school, especially if it’s the CIA. Read on.
How long it takes to graduate with a culinary degree depends on the college and the degree you’re interested in, whether that’s an associate, a bachelor’s, or a master’s. Other factors can include the major you choose, and whether you have transfer credits or significant industry work experience that might lessen the number of credits you need to take. Start your research here, by comparing a culinary arts certificate with a culinary arts degree. Then, compare programs at different culinary schools.
An undergraduate degree from The Culinary Institute of America is the perfect preparation for earning a CIA master’s degree in food business or a master’s degree in wine management.
And because the CIA is accredited by the prestigious Middle States Commission on Higher Education, your CIA degree is recognized by other colleges and universities where you may wish to pursue a graduate degree. Your CIA transcript will be reviewed to determine the best path into your desired master’s program.
There are a total of five Culinary Institute of America campuses and locations. The flagship campus of the CIA is located in New York’s bountiful Hudson Valley. There are also branch campuses in California’s Napa Valley and San Antonio, TX, and an international location in Singapore. These four locations offer the college’s world-famous degree programs:
The Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499
The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
2555 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio
312 Pearl Parkway, Building 2, Suite 2102
San Antonio, TX 78215
The Culinary Institute of America, Singapore
21 Tampines Avenue 1, Block 31
+65 6592 1136
In addition, the CIA offers food adventurers the chance to experience the past, present, and future of food at The CIA at Copia, a “foodie wonderland” located in California’s Napa Valley.
The CIA at Copia
500 1st Street
Napa, CA 94559
We can’t wait to welcome you to the CIA!
Yes, The Culinary Institute of America is a not-for-profit college that is accredited by the prestigious Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
If you want success in food and hospitality, then The Culinary Institute of America is the only place to be. Your career is your biggest and most important financial asset, affecting your quality of life, earning potential, and future opportunities. Our incomparable education, industry reputation, and professional connections add up to the best investment you can make for your future success. Read the other reasons why The Culinary Institute of America is your best and only college choice for a leadership career in food.
The Culinary Institute of America has been the recognized leader in culinary education since its founding in 1946. We encourage you to do your research and compare what the CIA offers against that of other colleges. You can start with these six key traits of the best culinary colleges.
CIA alumni work for the food industry’s biggest employers and enjoy extraordinary career opportunities and salary growth. Within five years of graduation, many get promoted and see their salaries increase by 50 percent.
There’s probably no one who better understands the lifelong value of a degree from The Culinary Institute of America than our proud and successful alumni. CIA graduates are working and leading in every segment of the food and hospitality industry, and it’s no exaggeration to say that they are changing the world through food.
Check out this list of some of The Culinary Institute of America’s notable alumni, and then see what several famous Culinary Institute of America alumni are saying about their alma mater. You’ll probably recognize some of the names, because many CIA graduates are celebrity chefs, Top Chef winners, Food Network stars, Iron Chefs, and award-winning competitors leading the industry.
Definitely! The Culinary Institute of America offers many study abroad opportunities:
Yes. The Culinary Institute of America offers an online master’s degree in food business. The 30-credit graduate-level program includes 27 credits in online courses and 3 credits earned in three short residencies at the New York campus in the Hudson Valley and at The CIA at Copia in California’s Napa Valley.
This two-year online culinary master’s degree is ideal for working professionals who want to advance their career or launch their own food business with the advantages of a CIA education, credential, mentoring, and industry connections.
The Culinary Institute of America does not offer part-time degree programs. However, students interested in earning their CIA degree while working should consider the CIA online master’s degree in food business. In addition to this online program, The Culinary Institute of America offers two 30-week programs that can enable students to earn a CIA credential quickly: the master’s degree in wine management, and the Accelerated Culinary Arts Certificate Program (ACAP), both held at the CIA’s California campus in the Napa Valley.
Yes. There is a wide variety of student housing available at the New York and California campuses. And they include community kitchens (of course!).
You can find out more about CIA student housing, including amenities, in the CIA Student Handbook. Just go to catalog.ciachef.edu and select “Student Handbook” from the drop-down.
Pets are welcome on outdoor campus grounds only, provided they are leashed or tethered, fully under the control of their owner, and cleaned up after. Pets are not permitted in campus buildings.
Go Steels! In addition to intramural sports, Culinary Institute of America athletics include coed intercollegiate teams in basketball, volleyball, soccer, cross-country, and tennis at the New York campus. All CIA teams compete within the Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, which spans the region from New York City to Albany, NY. Our proximity to NYC means our teams have exciting opportunities, like playing in the HVIAC conference’s tennis championships at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (home of the U.S. Open).
Check out some of the achievements of our student athletes from the 2017–2018 season.
There are so many student activities at the New York campus to choose from! Students can get involved with clubs, enjoy special events like cookoffs and Wicked Weekend, take part in outdoor activities like whitewater rafting and hiking, check out farmers markets, and take day trips to New York City. There’s also lots of fun to be had at our California campus and in the surrounding Napa Valley, as well as at the CIA Texas campus and the city of San Antonio.
To view The Culinary Institute of America’s admission requirements for the specific degree or certificate program you are interested in, visit that program’s page and click on the Requirements tab. To view our programs, visit the associate degree programs, bachelor’s degree programs, or master’s degree and certificate programs page and, from there, choose your major.
Applying for admission to The Culinary Institute of America is easy! You can apply online with the CIA’s own application or use the Common Application. See the steps for applying for admission to the CIA.
Yes, international students are a big part of The Culinary Institute of America’s diverse campus community, making up more than 15 percent of our student body. CIA students currently come from every U.S. state and nearly 50 countries! Our college is enriched by the cultures and culinary traditions of people from all over the world. Learn more about international students at the CIA and find out about scholarships available to international students.
The Culinary Institute of America, a proud Military Friendly School, today has close to 200 veterans and dependents enrolled in its degree programs. Our partnership with the U.S. armed forces dates back to 1946, when the college was founded to provide career training for returning World War II veterans. We are privileged to continue to provide the best education for military veterans interested in a leadership career in the food world.
The Culinary Institute of America accepts financial benefits for veterans and their dependents (spouse and children), including those from the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program. Learn more about financial benefits for veterans at The Culinary Institute of America.
Yes, transfer students and transfer credits are welcome at The Culinary Institute of America. In fact, you may be able to transfer up to 60 eligible credits into one of the CIA’s degree programs.
And if you began another course of study before realizing that a career in food was what you really wanted, our bachelor’s degree completion programs in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts are perfect for you. Apply the college credits you’ve already earned and you’ll be that much closer to a CIA bachelor’s degree.
Review our Transfer Credit Policy to learn more about the specifics of transferring credit to The Culinary Institute of America, including the steps needed to get your transfer credits evaluated.
The cost of attending The Culinary Institute of America varies by campus and program. View CIA tuition and fees.
We believe that a CIA degree is the best investment you can make for your future in food and hospitality. So we’re committed to helping you secure the funding (scholarships, grants, loans, work-study) you need to realize your dream of a Culinary Institute of America education. Find out more about the ways to pay for the CIA.
Yes. Veterans can use Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to help finance their education at The Culinary Institute of America—up to 100% of your tuition may be covered depending on your years of military service. The CIA also participates in the Yellow Ribbon program. Learn more.
While The Culinary Institute of America doesn’t offer a specific full-tuition scholarship, we do offer institutional aid in the form of scholarships and grants, along with federal and state financial aid. In addition, the CIA’s industry partners and individual supporters generously provide scholarships for our students. Combined, these scholarship and aid opportunities have enabled students to defray a large portion—or even all—of their education costs.
If you are a member of a National Student Organization (SkillsUSA, FCCLA, and others), consider entering one of their national or state level competitions. At many of them, students who place first, second, or third will receive a certificate for a scholarship to attend the CIA (even a full-tuition scholarship!). Choose “Multiple CIA Campuses” on our scholarships page to learn more.