Tips for Working While Attending Culinary School

by Olivia Tacelli
CulinaryEd Columnist
May 19, 2011

Working Through Culinary School

Culinary school is an exciting adventure, a practical path to a solid career, and a serious commitment of your time and money. You've got to decide how you're going to fit it into your existing life. You may have a job you want to keep while you get your degree, or you may need to stay employed in order to finance your education. Either way, there are several options for culinary arts students who want to earn their degree while working full or part-time.

Culinary Arts

Choose a Traditional or Online Culinary Degree Program

It may be as simple as finding a program that works with your schedule. If you have a day job, find a program that offers evening classes. Conversely, If you need to work at night, look for a day schedule. An online culinary degree program can work very well if you want to keep the job and schedule you already have. Although there are set deadlines for assignments, lectures and exams happen on your time frame whether you work weekends or weekdays, days or evenings.

Get Paid to Learn Culinary Arts

Imagine getting paid to work in a great New York restaurant before you've even graduated. Many New York culinary degree programs require externships where you work in a professional kitchen setting. Not only can you get real life food service experience, many externships also provide financial compensation that can help you through school.

Working and Still Need Help Paying for Culinary School?

Many culinary schools offer financial aid in the form of loans, grants, scholarships, and work-study positions and can steer you in the direction of federal and state assistance. Get in touch with the financial aid department at schools you're interested in and they can tell you what's available. There are also culinary associations and private foundations that offer grants and scholarships such as the James Beard Foundation.

Working while going to school will take some creativity, a quality that can also come in handy once you've graduated and are looking for ways to use your culinary arts degree.

About the Author:

About the Author

Olivia Tacelli is a freelance writer specializing in all things culinary. She has been a chef and caterer for 18 years, and has run her own whole foods cooking business, The Olive Tree, for 8 years.

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
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