Is Culinary School Worth It? Weighing The Costs.

September 09 2012 – Robert Fiumara

 There is a pretty fierce debate between professional chefs about whether or not it’s worth it for those interested in the culinary field to attend a professional culinary school.  While there is some dissention about where to attend or how much to spend or even if it’s necessary, one thing that they all seem to agree on is that real life on the job experience is more valuable than any formal culinary education.

With a combination of the failing economy which means that more people are leaving careers they believed would be in for a lifetime and the rise of culinary centric programming, like that on the Food Network, people are not only considering a career in the culinary arts at the beginning of their career lifetime.  Many people are now opting to make a career change to do something they believe they have a passion for.

Passion is well and good and is, in fact something that should drive a culinary career, but there are other costs to consider.  If you are making a comfortable living in your current career, you may want to rethink the idea of becoming a chef.  For most chefs, the average pay is between $15,000 and $25,000 yearly.  That amount is after starting kitchen jobs which may start at $10.00 or less per hour.  So if money is not your concern and you’re happy to live on your passion, let’s look at the cost in time. 

The average chef works between 60-80 hours a week.  That includes early mornings, late nights and weekends.  A chef’s schedule is hectic and revolves around the restaurant and its customers, not when the chef would like to work.

If a low income and long hours when you’re finished with culinary school doesn’t scare you away, let’s talk about the actual costs of attending culinary school.  The tuition can vary depending on if you are attending a public institution or a private one.  It can also fluctuate depending on the type and length of program you’re looking at.  If you’re thinking about the Culinary Institute of America, you can expect to pay close to $60,000 for your culinary education.  There are a number of well respected programs at local universities and community colleges that wouldn’t cost nearly as much in tuition.

There are also the additional fees and costs associated with culinary school.  Tuition isn’t the only one.  Culinary students are fully responsible for the purchase of their knives, books and culinary apparel, things which can easily add up.

If none of this causes you to think twice, then you just might make it through culinary school.  Keep in mind that in order to save yourself some extra cash, learn where you can get great deals on the things you need.  For high quality and affordable culinary apparel and uniforms check out Fiumara Apparel.  We have the latest styles for your comfort and professionalism.

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