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You've Graduated From Culinary School: Now What?

by Olivia DeWolfe
CulinaryEd Columnist
February 23, 2011

Decisions after culinary school.Culinary school attracts people for many reasons. Some are avid home cooks who want to make a living doing what they love. Others are already paid to cook, but want to expand their knowledge and repertoire in order to find more challenging work and responsibility, better pay or the skills to run their own business.

Here are two common paths for culinary-school students following their graduation.

Culinary arts graduates and restaurant jobs

Many graduates work as a chef or baker in a restaurant. While you probably won't start off running the show, once you establish your reputation as a creative, hardworking and reliable chef, you could see more responsibility and pay within two or three years. After several years of experience in a fine-dining establishment, you could move on to another restaurant or even open your own.

Many culinary schools require three- to six-month externships in a successful restaurant. This could pay off with a job opportunity following graduation. Many employers look forward to the opportunity to hire a culinary-school trained chef who already has familiarity with their menu, protocol and staff.

Culinary arts graduates and new businesses


Many culinary-degree programs teach the skills for running a food-service business. Instruction includes fields like accounting, cost control, marketing and purchasing and inventory. This knowledge, combined with your your talent and enthusiasm, could help you to open your own:

  • Cafe
  • Catering company
  • Private-chef business
  • Speciality-cake business

While it's atypical for graduates to open award-winning restaurants right after graduation, there are plenty of chefs who start with smaller businesses that grow over time in success and revenue. Many successful culinary careers grow out of a mix of raw talent, a desire to work hard, and a culinary-arts degree program.

What is the path that you want to take after you complete your degree program?

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            Culinary Arts
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            Professional Culinary Arts
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            AAS Degree in Culinary Arts
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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            • Accredited
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            Culinary Arts
            Get the experience you need to succeed in the exciting and fast growing culinary field at Keiser University - Center for Culinary Arts. We offer the flexibility of day or evening classes, experienced faculty, and small class sizes for plenty of personalized attention. Internship opportunities and financial aid are available for students who qualify.
            Associate of Science in Culinary Arts

            Since 1977, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career-focused education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals.  Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience. 

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            Culinary Arts and Food Services
            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
            • Helps students gain professional skills in culinary management.
            • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
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            AAS in Business Administration - Hospitality Management

            Building on Purdue's mission to provide greater access to affordable, world-class education, Purdue University Globaldelivers a fully personalized online experience that's tailored to working adults. By opening the doors to adults who need flexibility to fit learning into their busy lives, we make it possible to achieve a high-quality education from a prestigious university system—completely online.

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