Culinary and Cooking Schools Directory

Do some research into potential programs

There is no industry standard for obtaining a culinary education. For that matter there is also no requirement for graduates to obtain licenses or become certified. That doesn't mean you should choose the first school you come across or the one that offers the cheapest program.

If you want to be part of a desirable kitchen and work your way up to a management job, your chosen education can either pave the way or stop you in your tracks. Employers will see what you've been trained in and decide if your experience is enough for a job in their establishment.

Questions to consider

  • Do you prefer working with desserts and sweets? Enter a program that focuses on those kinds of baking.
  • Do you aspire to work in a four-star establishment or other upscale eatery or institution? It will take a degree in culinary arts to get you there.
  • Would you rather take direction or manage others? If you want to reach an executive chef position you'll need training in business and management.
  • Are there internship or other work opportunities? Some schools offer onsite student kitchens, while others arrange for students to complete work terms at local eating establishments, bakeries or institutional kitchens.
  • Where is the school located? The city you attend school in will have a big impact on the kind of internships or part-time jobs you'll be able to apply for. If you want to work in a certain type of restaurant or bakery it's a good idea to see if there are any in the area where you'll be attending classes. Some programs will offer part of their curriculum online, so you may also be able to complete internships or hold a part-time job in your hometown.

Find out about the instructors at the culinary schools you're interested in, particularly what their credentials are (where they have worked, if they are respected in the industry) and if they or their students have won any awards or competitions.

It's also a good idea to inquire about a school's job placement rates and where graduates find jobs.

Chef and baker certification

The American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission (AFC), the largest professional chef organization in North America, offers 14 levels of certification that can test your abilities as a chef or baker.

Employers at higher-end establishments may look favorably upon applicants who have shown the drive to become certified. Tests from entry-level to master can be taken by culinary school graduates who meet certain requirements, which can include work experience, extent of training or completion of previous certification levels.

Other organizations offer certification in food safety and handling, which employers may require.

Commercial chefs

  • Certified culinarian (CC)
  • Certified sous chef (CSC)
  • Certified chef de cuisine (CCC)
  • Certified executive chef (CEC)
  • Certified master chef (CMC)

Personal chefs

  • Personal certified chef (PCC)
  • Personal certified executive chef (PCEC)

Pastry and baking chefs

  • Certified pastry culinarian (CPC)
  • Certified working pastry culinarian (CWPC)
  • Certified executive pastry culinarian (CEPC)
  • Certified master pastry chef (CMPC)


  • Certified culinary administrator (CCA)