How to Become a Chef Arkansas

Most chefs start out as entry-level cooks, working their way through the ranks of the kitchen. Earning such a promotion could be the result of years of training, experience gained through completing a degree program or both. Chefs need to understand timing, how to garnish properly, the best combinations of seasonings and so much more. You will also be responsible for supervising other cooks to ensure that each dish meets your standards. Food safety and kitchen hygiene are also very important keys to establishing yourself as a professional in this industry. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Arkansas

In Arkansas, there are no statewide regulations in place for chefs. Most employers will prefer to hire candidates who have earned a degree or certificate in culinary arts, as well as those who hold national certification. If you don’t have any of these credentials, you may still be able to work as a chef as long as you have extensive professional experience within the trade.

A food handler’s license comes in the form of a card or permit that can be obtained online for less than $30, and may be a requirement depending on the city in which you work.

Oklahoma Schools for Arkansas

Working as a chef can be done without completing any post-secondary training, but doing so will make it easier for you to progress quickly within the trade. Consider the training options below:

  • The University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management Institute is located in the city of Little Rock. The school offers programs for culinary artists, pastry chefs, wine and spirits studies and hospitality management. Certificates will require about one year of study, while associate’s degree programs can be completed in two years.
  • Northwest Arkansas Community College is located in the city of Bentonville and offers both certificate and associate’s degree programs in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts and artisanal food. Certificate programs can be completed in one year, while degree programs will require two years of study
  • Arkansas Tech University is located in the city of Russellville. The school offers a Certificate of Proficiency in culinary arts, which can be completed with 15 semester credit hours. Students will have the skills to land an entry-level position in the food service industry after completing this program.

National Certification for Chefs in Arkansas

If you’re interested in earning national certification, you can do so through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Depending on where you work, earning certification may be required or it may allow you to earn higher compensation. The ACF offers a total of 16 professional certifications, nine of which are specifically for culinary artists. These certifications can be earned with education, experience or a combination of both. Other certifications include those for pastry chefs, military chefs, students and educators.

Outlook and Salary Expectations

In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data which stated that there were 800 people employed as chefs in Arkansas. By 2026, the PMP expects this number will jump to 910, indicating a 13.9 percent increase in the job market during this 10-year period.

On average, chefs in Arkansas earned $19.80 per hour, or $41,180 per year, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data released in 2017. The top 10 percent of chefs in this state earned an average of $68,200 during the same year.

Working as a Chef in Arkansas

As a chef, you can expect to find employment at local restaurants, private dining establishments, entertainment venues, banquet centers, casinos and more. You may even choose to work as a freelance chef by making a name for yourself using social media and networking strategies. This would allow you to work as a personal chef to celebrities or even establish your own restaurant.

Some of the highest paid chefs in Arkansas can be found working in cities like Bexar, Camp and Elizabeth. This industry will continue to expand throughout the coming years, so getting started now is a wise choice.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Central Arkansas nonmetropolitan area Area

Arkansas Tech University

Administration Bldg 200; 1509 N Boulder Ave, Russellville, Arkansas 72801-2222
(479) 968-0389
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Arkansas Tech University’s Certificate-level Culinary Arts program is offered at their campus in the town of Russellville, Arkansas. Of the 12,054 students, about 7% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $6,624 and for out-of-state students approximately $11,880 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,410, depending on the program chosen.

East Arkansas nonmetropolitan area Area

Ozarka College

218 College Dr, Melbourne, Arkansas 72556-0010
(870) 368-7371
Hospitality Management – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Ozarka College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Melbourne in Izard County, AR. The majority of of the school’s 1,108 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $2,776 and for out-of-state students approximately $5,128 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,100, although this will depend on the program.

Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, AR-MO Area

NorthWest Arkansas Community College

One College Drive, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712-5091
(479) 636-9222
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

NorthWest Arkansas Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Bentonville. The majority of of the school’s 7,744 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees for in-district students are generally around $3,208 and are $4,633 and $4,708 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Area

Pulaski Technical College

3000 W Scenic Dr, North Little Rock, Arkansas 72118-3347
(501) 812-2200
Basic Pastry – Certificate Program

Pulaski Technical College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of North Little Rock, AR. The majority of of the school’s 7,641 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $5,011 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,151 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

West Arkansas nonmetropolitan area Area

Rich Mountain Community College

1100 College Dr, Mena, Arkansas 71953
(479) 394-7622
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Rich Mountain Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Mena, Arkansas. The majority of of the school’s 929 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition for in-district students are likely to be about $2,568 and are $2,904 and $5,520 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost about $660, depending on the program chosen.

* Tuition fees and accredition status are correct at the time of writing, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (http://nces.ed.gov/). Confirm with college before applying.

Neighbor States

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