button

Spring Enrollment Benefits

Spring Grants are Available

The Culinary Institute of America

  • Choosing A Culinary College

    What's the best culinary college out there? For that matter, what are the top 10 culinary schools around, and how do I decide which is the best cooking school for me?

    Here are six key criteria that can help you with your all-important college decision:

    1. The best chance for success

    The top culinary colleges have:

    • High graduation and employment rates
    • Opportunities for long-term career success with attractive salaries
    • A large, successful alumni network
    • A strong industry reputation that provides access to national and international career opportunities, not just regional ones

    2. An emphasis on hands-on kitchen work and real restaurant experiences

    The best cooking schools have:

    • World-class teaching kitchens and lots of in-kitchen instruction hours
    • Classes that allow you to learn food preparation and cooking skills, and have you produce meals in volume
    • Professional learning that culminates in real restaurant and café settings
    • Externships at leading restaurants, hotels, and resorts for real-world experience and industry connections

    3. A faculty of experienced, diverse, and accomplished chefs and professors

    The best culinary colleges have:

    • Master Chefs or Master Bakers
    • Certified Hospitality Educators (CHEs), a certification assuring effective teaching
    • Diverse faculty representing a variety of cultures and experiences
    • "Celebrity" faculty who actually teach, not just endorse the school
    • Student/faculty ratios that provide individual mentoring
    • A "published" faculty and college; accomplished educators are often authors of leading culinary texts as well

    4. An accredited culinary college offering both associate and bachelor's degree programs

    The top culinary colleges have:

    • Associate degree programs that provide fundamental skills, techniques, and cuisine studies to prepare you for a variety of jobs in the food world
    • Bachelor's degree programs that provide the same foundation plus build operational and management knowledge to prepare you for leadership positions
    • Regional accreditation by the appropriate accrediting commission for higher education, validating the quality of the curriculum and ensuring that your degree will be accepted by other institutions if you pursue further education

    5. A vital campus community and access to career and cultural resources

    The best cooking schools have:

    • A diverse student body and a variety of clubs, special events, and sports for you to enjoy
    • Attractive campus housing and recreational facilities, and a fun student life experience
    • Access to a major city where you can benefit from additional entertainment, cultural learning, and exposure to leading food businesses

    6. Superior value, backed by a complete financial aid program

    The best culinary colleges have:

    • A clear and readily accessible description of the most current tuition and other education expenses so you can compare the value of different programs
    • Degree options that give you broad industry access to maximize your career opportunity
    • A professional, experienced financial aid staff ready to address your needs
    • Available college scholarships to supplement federal and state aid programs
    • Continuing financial aid support for each year of study, not just the first year

    Dare to Compare

    Here are some helpful resources for researching and comparing the CIA to other cooking schools:

    Be sure to visit different colleges' websites and request viewbooks and catalogs to learn about their programs and resources. Then use the six criteria above to compare them with the CIA, and make an informed decision about what's best for your future. We look forward to seeing you soon!