Culinary Arts Programs in Colorado

This page provides detailed data on education options for chefs, bakers and pastry chefs, food preparers and other food service professionals in Colorado. Furthermore, you will find comprehensive facts job prospects and wage rates. [En Español]

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2016, there were around 58,070 persons employed as chefs and cooks in the state of Colorado. In addition, there were 3,660 persons working as baking and pastry specialists, and an additional 10,540 employed as food prep workers. There were 2,150 working as food service managers. For the 10-year period to 2024, it is predicted that employment for chefs and cooks in the centennial state will increase by 26.8%, which compares favorably with 4.5% growth expected nationwide.

Cooks and Chef Salaries in Colorado

In 2016, the mean salary for chefs working in restaurants in the nation’s 22nd most populous state was $26,690 (BLS), or approximately $12.83 per hour. Chefs and experienced senior cooks earned an average salary of $50,610, or a wage of $24.33 per hour, in the same year, while baking and pastry chefs earned $27,380 or $13.16 per hour.

Salaries in Colorado by Occupation

Job TitleTotal EmployedMean Hourly PayMean Annual Salary10th Percentile25th PercentileMedian75th Percentile90th Percentile
Bakers3,660$13.16$27,380$18,780$20,790$24,750$32,460$39,770
Butchers and Meat Cutters2,310$15.53$32,310$20,790$24,940$30,400$39,170$47,630
Chefs and Head Cooks2,700$24.33$50,610$29,450$37,460$48,170$59,230$72,830
Fast Food Cooks7,280$10.13$21,070$17,950$18,610$19,820$22,970$25,160
Food Preparation Workers10,540$11.60$24,140$18,380$19,520$22,720$27,540$32,330
Food Service Managers2,150*******
Institution and Cafeteria Cooks8,210$13.11$27,260$20,180$22,220$25,820$30,960$37,490
Other Cooks**$19.83$41,250$18,910$26,440$37,470$57,600$67,120
Other Food Preparation and Serving Related Workers1,680$9.85$20,500$17,780$18,280$19,120$21,960$25,350
Restaurant Cooks30,270$12.83$26,690$19,640$21,770$25,180$30,350$36,620
Short Order Cooks1,400$12.27$25,520$18,170$19,180$22,340$29,470$37,050

Chef and Head Cook Salaries in Colorado by Region

area_titleTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Boulder, CO150$23.88$49,680
Colorado Springs, CO**$27.17$56,510
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO1,530$21.85$45,450
Fort Collins, CO60$21.71$45,160
Grand Junction, CO30$24.10$50,120

Restaurant Cook Salaries in Colorado by Region

area_titleTotal EmployedAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Boulder, CO1,880$13.68$28,450
Colorado Springs, CO2,880$12.93$26,890
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO17,110$12.68$26,370
Fort Collins, CO2,390$12.53$26,070
Grand Junction, CO760$11.58$24,080
Greeley, CO770$11.41$23,730
Pueblo, CO430$12.38$25,760

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Boulder, CO Area

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Boulder

637 S Broadway, Ste H, Boulder, Colorado 80305
(303) 494-7988
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their Boulder campus in the city of Boulder, CO. The majority of of the school’s 369 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $25,280 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,750, although this will vary with the program.

Colorado Springs, CO Area

Pikes Peak Community College

5675 S Academy Blvd, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906-5498
(719) 502-2000
Food Service Management – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Pikes Peak Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Colorado Springs in El Paso County, CO. The college has roughly 13,311 students in total, with most students 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 in the order of $3,536 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $13,730 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,800, although this varies from program to program.

Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO Area

Emily Griffith Technical College

1860 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado 80203
(720) 423-4700
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Emily Griffith Technical College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Denver, Colorado. This public college has approximately 4,144 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The college’s retention rate for full-time students is over 80%. The cost of tuition is broadly about $8,752 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $750, depending on the program.

Johnson & Wales University-Denver

7150 Montview Blvd, Denver, Colorado 80220
(303) 256-9300
Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Johnson & Wales University offers various Associate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their Denver campus in the city of Denver, CO. This is a full, 4-year private college with 1,388 students, of which 98% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $30,746 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,500, although this will vary with the program.

Red Rocks Community College

13300 W Sixth Ave, Lakewood, Colorado 80228-1255
(303) 914-6600
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Red Rocks Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Lakewood, CO. The college has in the order of 7,789 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $3,685 and for out-of-state students in the order of $13,813 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,800, depending on the program chosen.

The Art Institute of Colorado

1200 Lincoln Street, Denver, Colorado 80203-2983
(303) 837-0825
Baking & Pastry – Associate Program, Hospitality Food & Beverage Management – Certificate Program

The Art Institute of Colorado offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Denver, Colorado. This private, for-profit college has around 1,145 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Fees for tuition are about $17,628 per year. Learning materials may cost about $1,500, although this will vary with the program.

Grand Junction, CO Area

Colorado Mesa University

1100 North Avenue, Grand Junction, Colorado 81501-3122
(970) 248-1020
Baking and Pastry – Associate Program, Bakeshop Production – Certificate Program

Colorado Mesa University offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Grand Junction, Colorado. Of the 9,448 students, about 2% 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 in the order of $7,835 and for students from outside the state approximately $18,996 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,560, although this will depend on the program.

Pueblo, CO Area

Pueblo Community College

900 West Orman Avenue, Pueblo, Colorado 81004-1499
(719) 549-3200
Beginning Production and Baking – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Pueblo Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Pueblo, Colorado. Most of the school’s 5,673 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally 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 $7,121 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $14,585 yearly. Study materials can cost about $2,099, depending on the program chosen.

Western Colorado nonmetropolitan area Area

Colorado Mountain College

802 Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs, Colorado 81601-0233
(800) 621-8559
Culinary Arts – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Colorado Mountain College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Glenwood Springs, CO. The college has roughly 5,806 students in total, with most students on 4-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 roughly about $1,768 and are $3,328 and $10,576 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,200, depending on the program.

* 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

Residents of Colorado may also wish to review their options in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.