The Top Requirements for Culinary School: Make the Right Career Decision


If you’re ready to make cooking a career, then you’re probably wondering what the requirements for culinary school are, and if you’ve got what it takes.

Well sit tight. We put together a list of the top 5 requirements you’ll want to consider as you prepare for your new career in the kitchen.

Game on…

1. Patience! Becoming a Qualified Chef Will Take Years!

Truth is, the road to being a chef will take YEARS to travel. So patience is a virtue that you can expect to become expert at.

So just how many years of culinary school are you up for?

That depends on your skills, but you can expect to work for five to 10 years, or even longer, before being called a true “chef.” It’s an industry where you’re going to pay your dues, working your way up to head chef through blood, sweat and tears (truly those three things).

We’re not about sugar-coating here (pun intended!). The culinary industry is one where you will start at the bottom – no matter what school you went to, your level of experience, or even your connections.

It takes time, hard work, dedication, and GRIT to make it, but if you have perseverance and tenacity, it WILL pay off.

2. A Desire to Pursue an Active, High-Energy Career

Culinary training programs are very physical. You won’t be sitting at a desk while you train!

You are going to be standing and hustling A LOT, so get ready for a high-energy lifestyle.

But the good thing is that the best culinary school classes focus 90% or more of your education and training in an actual kitchen setting, meaning you are actually doing and demonstrating what you learn. There may be some theoretical and classroom-type learning involved, but the kitchen aspect will far outweigh any lecture-style learning. So be prepared to roll up your sleeves and practice your knife skills right away.

After all, what better way than to learn by doing?

3. Be Willing to Live Within Your Means, At Least At First

After finishing culinary school, you’ll start out on an entry-level position and earn an average salary of $20,764 to $29,618. This translates to approximately $10 to $14 per hour, depending on the type and location of the restaurant you work for.

With that in mind, be realistic about the money you can expect to earn at the start of your career and set aside savings accordingly

4. Possess A Strong Work Ethic and a Love of Food

What separates a chef from an outstanding chef?

Be obsessed with food and cooking!

If you live and breathe food and can’t imagine doing anything else with your life besides cooking, then you may just be in the right industry. You’ll also need to love working with your hands and not mind long days on your feet.

Some of the advantages of being a chef are:

  • It’s a job that pays you way more than the money you earn. It pays in gratitude from the customers and happiness from doing what you love.
  • It’s an ideal profession if you want to be creative and work in an intense, challenging environment.
  • It’s perfect for career changers. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook for Chefs and Head Cook states that “workers with a combination of business skills, previous work experience, and culinary creativity should have the best job prospects.”

But, Can You Become a Chef Without Culinary School?

Culinary school isn’t a requirement for becoming a chef, but it sure does help.

There are cooks that work years in the kitchen, learning from busy chefs that have little time to teach you in the fast pace of kitchen life. The flip-side applies as well. The industry does not typically favor or care if you earn an actual degree in culinary or pastry arts. If your goal is to be hired as a cook, chefs want to see that you have a great attitude, are a team player, are teachable, and have solid cooking skills and qualities, which can all be learned through a hands-on culinary arts diploma or culinary arts certificate programs.

Attending culinary school can allow you to build a solid foundation and hone your skills in an experimental and supportive environment.

Plus, you’ll learn how to do things the RIGHT way.

Get Started With Culinary School Classes Today!

As you consider starting culinary or pastry school classes, it is important to understand the path ahead of you. Yes, it will be hard, and you may want to quit a thousand times, but if you have a passion for food, you’ll always be able to rely on your passion to move you forward!

And, if you’ve read this far and STILL want to work in the industry, you may just have what it takes to thrive.

Still have questions about culinary school? We’ll be glad to help. Just schedule a tour, call 714-486-4406, or email us.