Cost of Culinary Schools
You’ve decided you want to pursue a career in culinary arts and seek formal training as a means to that end. Great! How much is this going to cost you? That’s a great question for which there’s no one answer. But here’s a general guideline to the annual prices of Culinary Schools:
- Community College Programs: $1,500 to $6,000
- Culinary Institutes: $6,000 to $40,000
- Universities: $2,500 to $47,000
It doesn’t get any more general than that! But you can (and should) consider several other factors to clarify and plan for your educational costs:
- Application Fees: While these costs are generally negligible in comparison to the actual cost of an education, they tend to add up, especially if you’re applying to multiple venues. Application fees can range from free to $75 per school.
- Tools of the Trade: You will need supplies and training materials. Set aside some dough to purchase books, cooking utensils and related merchandise, and uniforms—anywhere from $200 to $1,000 .
- Location: Will you be attending a local school or moving out of state? Relocating can a minimum of $500, assuming you can pack all of your belongings into your own vehicle! More than likely, you can count on shelling out at least $1,000 in moving expenses. You will also have to budget for room and board.
- Culinary School Programs: How much formal training you want impacts the price of your education. Certificate Programs are the most cost-effective options at often just a few hundred dollars while an accredited bachelor’s degree will set you back thousands, even tens of thousands, dollars.
- Public or Private University: Attending a public university will definitely cost less than a private university; the difference could mean tens of thousands of dollars.
- Continuing Education: For Head Chefs and Master Chefs, continuing education classes may be required on an annual or biannual basis. These entail one day, weekend, or week-long workshops, and/or online courses. Prices vary from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
To eliminate a few more chunks from the cost of your education, there are several options worth investigating. Most schools offer financial aid programs and many culinary programs offer scholarships, loans, and grants.
For those already working in the field, work-study programs might be available through your employer. You might divide your time between working at a restaurant or hotel for one semester and then hitting the books the following semester. Even better, the restaurant or hotel where you’re employed may offer a tuition reimbursement program.
Any culinary education comes at a price, but consider it a wise investment into your passion and your future. In the long run, your investment will be worth more than money can buy in job satisfaction and enjoyment.
Last Updated: 08/08/2012