The 18 Best Culinary Schools in America

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San Francisco Cooking School (SFCS)
Culinary schools for an uncommon time

Although the academic year ahead will look very different, these culinary schools remain dedicated to training the next generation of restaurant professionals while adapting their on-campus policies to keep class in session.

Here's our pick for the top options in the country.

The following list is in no particular order.

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The Culinary Institute of America
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA)

Hyde Park, New York; St. Helena, California; San Antonio; Singapore

Established: 1946

Accreditation: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry Arts / Culinary Science / Food Business Management / Applied Food Studies / Hospitality Management / Wine Management

Degrees: Associate, Bachelor, Master, Certificate

Average Matriculation: Programs vary from intensive 30-week certificates to flexible online study. Bachelor’s (123–132 credits) and associate (69 credits) programs include semester-long internships. CIA accepts up to 60 transfer credits to allow for faster bachelor’s degree completion. Master’s programs consist of 30 credits.

Tuition: Associate and Bachelor: $18,345–$18,765 per semester, varies by campus

Master: $9,940–$18,465 per semester, varies by program (online versus on-campus)

Website: ciachef.edu

About: “The Culinary Institute of America (cia) is a private, not-for-profit college dedicated to providing the world’s best professional culinary education. Excellence, leadership, professionalism, ethics, and respect for diversity are the core values that guide our efforts. We teach our students the general knowledge and specific skills necessary to live successful lives and to grow into positions of influence and leadership in their chosen profession.”

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The Art Institute.
The Art Institutes Culinary Arts School

Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, Texas; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta; Virginia Beach, Virginia

Established: 1991

Accreditation: The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (acfef)

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking & Pastry / Culinary Management / Hospitality Food & Beverage Management

Degrees: Certificate, Diploma, Associate, Bachelor

Average Matriculation:

Diploma: 4 quarters, 55 credits

Associate: 6 quarters, 90 credits

Bachelor’s: 12 quarters, 180 credits

Tuition: $535 per credit hour plus $1,500 fee for labs; costs vary by campus

Website: artinstitutes.edu

About: “In our Culinary Arts School, you’ll be immersed in an environment that’s as close to the real world as it gets. Working in a modern, professional kitchen, you can hone your cooking skills as you focus on learning to deliver the popular international flavors and techniques today’s consumers and employer want and expect.”

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Mike Cohea
Johnson & Wales University
Johnson & Wales University

Providence, Rhode Island; Charlotte, North Carolina; Denver; North Miami

Established: 1914

Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (neche), through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE)

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking & Pastry Arts / Food & Beverage Industry Management / Culinary Nutrition / Culinary Science & Product Development / Dietetics and Applied Nutrition / Food & Beverage Entrepreneurship / Food Innovation & Technology / Food Safety / Professional Craft Brewing / Restaurant Food & Beverage Management / Sustainable Food Systems

Degrees: Associate / Bachelor / Continuing Education / Master / Certificate

Average Matriculation: 2–4 years, varies by degree program

Tuition: $34,376 per academic year for undergraduate studies

Website: jwu.edu

About: “Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with approximately 13,000 graduate, undergraduate, and online students at its four campuses in Providence, Rhode Island; North Miami; Denver; and Charlotte, North Carolina.”

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Kendall College
Kendall College (National Louis University)

Chicago

Established: 1985

Accreditation: ACFEF

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry / Hospitality Management

Degrees: Associate / Accelerated Associate / Bachelor

Average Matriculation: 5–13 quarters, varies by program and existing degrees

Tuition: $8,245–$8,904 per quarter for full-time students; $655–$673 per credit hour for part-time students; additional fees are incurred for uniforms, supplies, kitchen tools, labs, and internships.

Website: kendall.edu

About: “We combine strong academics with practical learning to ensure that you’re equipped with the real-world skills necessary to succeed in your field. Benefits that set our culinary arts school in Chicago apart include small classroom sizes, plenty of personalized attention, and placement in a career-specific internship that will prepare you for your future.”

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New England Culinary Institute
New England Culinary Institute (NECI)

Montpelier, Vermont

Established: 1980

Accreditation: Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (accsc)

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry Arts / Food and Beverage Business Management

Degrees: Certificate / Associate / Bachelor

Average Matriculation:

Certificate: 22 weeks

Associate: 16 months

Bachelor’s: 32 months

Tuition:

Certificate: $16,800

Associate: $42,000–$43,400

Bachelor’s: $84,000

Website: neci.edu

About: “Our mission is to educate students to become experts in their chosen professions. NECI students, having learned diverse and multifaceted skills, will benefit from the convergence of business acumen and industry readiness to lead in both domestic and international settings.”

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Two chefs plate food in a commercial restaurant kitchen.
Sullivan University, College of Hospitality Studies

Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky

Established: 1987

Accreditation: ACFEF

Programs: Baking and Pastry Arts / Culinary Arts / Event Management and Tourism / Hotel and Restaurant Management / Hospitality Management

Degrees: Diploma / Associate / Bachelor

Average Matriculation:

Diploma: 12 months (9 months accelerated)

Associate: 21–24 months (18 months accelerated)

Bachelor: 38 months (36 months accelerated)

Tuition:

Diploma: $496 per credit hour

Associate: $395–$495 per credit hour

Bachelor: $375 per credit hour

Website: sullivan.edu

About: “Graduates from the College of Hospitality Studies can look for jobs in cities across the globe. In fact, Sullivan graduates can be found in hotels, catering companies, restaurants, cruise ships, and teaching positions in places anywhere from Tennessee to Europe and Antarctica.”

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Walnut Hill College
Walnut Hill College
Walnut Hill College

Philadelphia

Established: 1974

Accreditation: ACCSC

Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry Arts / Restaurant Management / Hotel Management

Degrees: Associate / Bachelor’s

Tuition: $6,350–$9,825 per term, plus lab, technology, and other fees

Average Matriculation:

Associate: 18 months

Bachelor: 36 months

Website: walnuthillcollege.edu

About: “Walnut Hill College is one of Philadelphia’s first colleges to focus on excellence in hospitality education. We prepare our students for the real world by combining classroom teaching with hands-on training in our award-winning restaurants, which are open to the public.”

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Arizona Culinary Institute
Arizona Culinary Institute

Scottsdale, Arizona

Established: 2002

Accreditation: ACCSC

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking / Restaurant Management

Degrees: Diploma / Certificate

Average Matriculation: 30 weeks (Day), 40 weeks (Night)

Tuition:

Diploma: $27,795

Certificate: $10,046–$10,625

Website: azculinary.edu

About: “The Arizona Culinary Institute experience is designed to make good use of your time and resources in an eight-month diploma program. Our philosophy is simple: Students learn best in small groups, receiving personal attention from seasoned instructors. And with ongoing events and happenings, we’ve built a real community of people passionate about cooking.”

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Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado

Established: 2010

Accreditation: ACFEF, Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (accet), Council on Occupational Education (coe).

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking & Pastry

Degrees: Associate / Diploma

Average Matriculation: 30-week and 60-week programs, plus required externships

Diploma: 30 weeks (on-site), 60 weeks (distance learning); both include externship

Associate: 60 weeks, including externship

Tuition:

Diploma: $14,970–$22,175

Associate: $26,295–$30,935

Website: escoffier.edu

About: “Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is a leading accredited provider of online and campus-based culinary training and education. The school’s professional programs offer the proven combination of a classic and contemporary approach to modern industry skills training as well as a sustainability-centered and business-focused curriculum.”

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Coastal Alabama Community College
Coastal Alabama Community College
Coastal Alabama Community College (formerly Faulkner State Community College)

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Established: 1996

Accreditation: ACFEF

Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry & Baking / Hospitality Management / Event Planning

Degrees: Certificate / Associate

Average Matriculation:

Certificate: Three semesters

Associate: Six semesters (two years)

Tuition: $162 (in-state student) or $296 (out-of-state) per credit hour

Website: coastalalabama.edu

About: “Learn the ins and outs of hospitality management and event planning in the extensive coursework in the Hospitality Program. The Culinary Arts and Pastry/Baking programs underscore the fundamentals of modern classical cooking with a focus on taste, aroma, and artful presentation.”

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Culinary Institute LeNôtre

Houston

Established: 1998

Accreditation: ACCSC and ACFEF

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry Arts / Hospitality and Restaurant Management

Degrees: Associate / Diploma

Average Matriculation:

Diploma: 50–60 weeks

Associate: 90–100 weeks

Tuition: $16,625 per year

Website: culinaryinstitute.edu

About: “The Culinary Institute LeNôtre in Houston, Texas, is a community that aims to train and welcome the culinary experts of tomorrow into its international family of renowned chefs and hospitality workers. Students will study both classic and contemporary culinary methods, learn to prepare hundreds of dishes, and expand their knowledge of various topics.”

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pexels/Elle Hughes
Two restaurant employees prepare food in the back of the house.
Culinary Studies Institute at Oakland Community College

Farmington Hills, Michigan

Established: 1964

Accreditation: ACFEF

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking & Pastry Arts / Management Development in Hospitality

Degrees: Certificate / Associate

Average Matriculation:

Certificate: 1 year

Associate: 2 years

Tuition: $9,000 for associate degree

Website: oaklandcc.edu/culinary

About: “The Culinary Studies Institute has been preparing aspiring chefs for a career in the food and beverage industry for decades. Dining at your favorite restaurants, you may be currently enjoying one of our alums’ cuisines.”

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Wkimedia Commons/Michael Barera
Dallas College.
Dallas College (formerly El Centro College)

Dallas

Established: 1970

Accreditation: ACFEF

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry / Food and Hospitality Management

Degrees: Associate / Certificate

Average Matriculation:

Certificate: 1–2 semesters

Associate: 5 semesters

Tuition:

Certificate: $1,343–$1,501

Associate: $4,740

Website: dcccd.edu/culinary

About: “The Culinary, Pastry, and Hospitality program, located at the El Centro Downtown and North Dallas Campuses, provides hands-on training with experienced professionals that will give you the expertise to help you land the job you want—and set you apart from the competition.”

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Institute of Culinary Education
Institute of Culinary Education (ICE)
Institute of Culinary Education (ICE)

New York City

Established: 1975

Accreditation: ACCSC; New York location is licensed by the New York State Education Department, Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision; the Los Angeles location is licensed by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (bppe).

Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry & Baking Arts / Health-Supportive Culinary Arts / Restaurant & Culinary Management / Hospitality & Hotel Management

Degrees: Diploma

Average matriculation: 6–13 months

Cost:

New York campus: $13,980–$40,660

Los Angeles campus: $13,305–$34,775

Website: ice.edu

About: “ICE is dedicated to inspiring our students to reach their full potential through an education that emphasizes technique and professionalism. We will accomplish this in a passionate, disciplined environment that fosters excellence, critical thinking, and creativity in students, faculty, and staff.”

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Institute of Technology Culinary School
Institute of Technology Culinary School
Institute of Technology Culinary School

Clovis and Modesto, California

Established: 2003

Accreditation: ACCSC and ACFEF

Degrees: Culinary Arts / Baking and Pastry Specialist

Average Matriculation: 40 weeks

Tuition: $18,232–$18,912

Website: iot.edu

About: “We’ve helped thousands of students turn their love for food and the culinary arts into new careers in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industries. At the Institute of Technology, you’ll learn in kitchens designed to simulate real world environments and take part in curriculum that’s been nationally recognized for quality.”

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Lincoln Culinary Institute

Shelton, Connecticut; Columbia, Maryland

Established: 1946

Accreditation: ACCSC and ACFEF

Programs: Culinary Arts / International Baking & Pastry

Degrees: Certificate / Diploma

Average Matriculation:

Certificate: 50 weeks (day) or 74–75 weeks (night)

Diploma: 66 weeks

Tuition: $21,230–$23,918

Website: lincolntech.edu

About: “As a chef-in-training, you will learn the ins and outs of the restaurant and food industry. Our staff of respected chefs puts their dedication and life experiences into classes where masterful techniques in baking, preparing, and serving cuisines from around the world are taught in the Culinary Arts program.”

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Sarah Becker Photography
New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute
New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute

New Orleans

Established: 2013

Accreditation: Forthcoming

Programs: Culinary Arts / Baking & Pastry Arts

Degrees: Certificate

Average Matriculation: 100 days

Tuition: $14,800 for tuition and fees

Website: nochi.org

About: “The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that educates a diverse community of learners to sustain an ever-evolving hospitality industry. We offer a platform for professional and personal growth, increasing access and minimizing barriers to career pathways while supporting the promotion and economic development of the culinary arts and hospitality industry.”

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San Francisco The Official Guide
San Francisco's Bay Bridge
San Francisco Cooking School (SFCS)

San Francisco

Established: 2012

Accreditation:

Programs: Culinary Arts / Pastry & Baking Arts

Degrees: Certificate

Average Matriculation: Full-time students complete the program in six months; part-time students complete it in 12 months.

Tuition: $32,015

Website: sfcooking.com

About: “SFCS offers career-training certificate programs, in Culinary or Pastry & Baking Arts, designed to prepare aspiring food professionals to jump-start their new careers. Our programs are contemporary, relevant, and driven by an eclectic and evolving lens relevant to what’s happening in restaurants and bakeries right now across the globe.”

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