Want to Become a Chef? Consider a Culinary Certification Program

Culinary program for veterans

Do you love to cook? Are you more comfortable in a kitchen than anyplace else? Are you considering culinary school? There are some good reasons to consider culinary school. Not as many people are going these days so you may have less competition when you hit the pavement looking for work. The average executive chef makes about $66,000 per year, a chef de cuisine has a salary of a little over $51,000 per year and pastry chef’s average salary is just over $43,000 per year. All of those positions have moderately higher salaries when the people work for hotels. There are several culinary certification options available and the program is offered at culinary schools around the country.

For people who are interested in becoming a certified chef, there are several routes they can take. A formal culinary education helps aspiring chefs gain valuable hands on training in cooking techniques, baking, food preparation and plating, safety and sanitation. There are three options for a culinary education. Students can earn a full bachelor’s degree (four years), an associates degree (two years) or a diploma from a six month program.

Many people are not willing to commit to the four year bachelor of culinary arts degree program. For people who do not already have a bachelor’s degree in something else, an associate’s degree program can be very tempting. For people who have a bachelor’s degree and who are looking to switch careers, that may not be all that appealing. Luckily, different schools really do offer multiple culinary certification options. The shorter and more intense culinary certification options provide all of the coursework needed to be certified as a chef without the classes and work that may have been covered in other academic programs. For people who have already had a career and maybe have received a bachelor’s of arts or sciences, this is the way to go.

  • These programs offer courses in the following:
  • International cuisines
  • Meat science
  • Baking
  • Pastry
  • Meat science
  • Nutrition
  • Food safety
  • Hospitality management

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) certifies chefs in 14 areas. The ACF was founded in 1929. It is the largest association for professional chefs in North America. In 1929, three different chefs’ associations combined to form a new organization and that became the ACF. It has 230 chapters all over the United States. Nearly 22,000 chefs are members. It is the premier authority on cooking in the U.S.. The mission of the ACF is to help chefs and cooks at all levels. Its programs include apprenticeships, educational programs and the certification programs. In 1976, it was instrumental in changing the chef designation from domestic to professional.

For people who have at least an associate’s degree in culinary arts or something else, the ACF offers the exam to receive the Certified Culinarian (CC) certificate. After person gains some work experience, they can graduate to become a Certified Sous Chef. More experience and you can advance further to become a Certified Chef de Cuisine, then a Certified Executive Chef and finally a Certified Master Chef. Pastry chefs are also certified by the ACF.

There are a lot of benefits in completing any of any of the culinary certification options. No matter how you become a chef, once you are one, there are advantages of becoming a certified chef.

  • You always know the nutritional value of your food. You have to learn a lot about food when you are studying to be a certified chef. Whether you made it or not, you know the nutritional content of just about everything you eat.
  • You can let your creativity run wild. Chefs are often given free reign in their kitchens. You can create what you want to create and just let your taste buds and imagination be your guides.
  • You get a lot of respect as a chef. In a restaurant, the chef often gets more respect even than the owner, who is sometimes seen as just being there to support the chef.
  • You can become famous. Even if you do not end up a household name like Gordon Ramsey or Anthony Bourdain, if you are good, your name will make its way around to at least the foodies in the city or town where you work.