How Much Does Culinary School Cost?

Costs main cover image
$ Culinary Arts Certificate: $17,000-$47,000 $ $ Associate's Degree: $35,000-$56,000 $ $ $ Bachelor's Degree: $47,000-$120,000

Culinary school lasts for several months to four years to complete, and the degree programs vary from a certificate of completion to a four-year bachelor’s degree.

Typical Costs

A program for culinary diploma or culinary arts certificate in general costs $17,550-$47,000 and lasts between 7 and 12 months, covering 600-1,000 combined hours of classroom and hands-on instruction.

The San Diego Culinary Institute, for example, provides a 7-9 month cuisine diploma program for $23,408, covering extra costs such as a knife kit, a baking kit, uniforms, textbooks, and fees.

At the same time, an eight-month program at the International Culinary Center covers classes held in New York and Italy, plus an externship at a restaurant in Italy and more than 1,000 hours of hands-on and classroom instruction.

The associate’s degree in culinary arts usually comes at the price of  $35,000-$56,000.

Le Cordon Bleu schools’ two-year associate’s program in culinary arts, placed across the country, costs $35,050.

At the same time, The Culinary Institute of America 2.5-year associate’s degree program comes at the price of $55,670.

It lasts for five semesters, and one of the semesters includes a paid externship in which the student does not pay tuition but works in a kitchen while still learning on the job.

This price further includes one meal per day and all program supplies and fees covered.

At the same time, a bachelor’s degree in culinary management or culinary arts has a price of  $47,000-$120,000.

A bachelor’s degree, issued at the Culinary Institute in New England, for example, costs $94,000 for students off-campus or $114,000 for students on-campus, where this sum covers all materials, class fees, and room and board for on-campus students.

What Is Included

It takes from seven months to four years to get a degree in culinary arts or a certificate program and includes coursework in preparing entrees, exotic cuisine, and desserts, plus various techniques such as knife skills, plating, and menu design.

All programs usually include training in-class training and externship or experience on-the-job.

The American Culinary Federation accredits all culinary training programs and the education requirements are different for each intended career path.

For example, The American Culinary Federation presents all certifications which are available and the applicable education requirements that go along with each, covering a certificate or diploma possible to be earned in several months, an associate’s degree possible in two years or bachelor’s degree possible in four years.

A person earning a certificate, for instance, might go on to become an entry-level culinary, and a student earning an associate’s degree might become a personal chef or an executive sous chef, by overseeing various stations in a professional kitchen.

At the same time, a bachelor’s degree with vast experience may qualify a chef for a culinary educator career.

The Cuisine Diploma also is known as a ‘Diplome Professionnel du Commis de Cuisine’; however, schools refer to the cuisine diploma program in various ways.

An Elite Diploma in Culinary Arts is given by The Culinary Institute Le Notre in Houston, while at the same time Diplome Professionnel du Commis de Cuisine is granted by the San Diego Culinary Institute, with a separate program for pastry chefs.

Additional Costs

  • The books and the supplies for culinary school including a knife set, kitchen supplies or laptop computer, usually cost $1,000-$4,000.
  • The Utah Valley University Culinary Arts Institute, for example, estimates additional costs of $510 for cooking tools, $240 for uniforms (including chef coat, hat, and apron, necktie, pants), black leather shoes and books, with costs that vary.
  • The culinary school knife sets are priced at $80-$300, and the Wusthof Culinary School Knife Bag is $90.
  • At the same time, a single chef’s uniform usually costs $60-$300.
  • For instance, a chef’s coat at Chef Wear ranges from $14 for a three-star jacket to $70 for a premier chef’s coat, while shoes at Chef Wear cost $80 or more, pants cost $20-$40 and a chef’s hat or toque is priced at  $14-$16.


Cooking school scholarships are available to students who show financial need.

The American Academy of Chefs grants scholarships to high school and college students, as well as to professional chefs looking to pursue education or certification.

Shopping For Culinary School

  • The Culinary Schools provide tips for the program and explains the difference between cooking schools or classes and a culinary institute.
  • The industry’s dominant trade group, The American Culinary Federation, has a searchable database of accredited schools, including degree and non-degree programs.

One Comment
  1. Avatar for Tony Brantley Tony Brantley

    Holy crap I had no idea culinary school was so expensive !

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