How to Become a Chef in Idaho

Anyone considering a career in the world of culinary arts will find that they have plenty of variety and opportunity. The culinary arts sector includes a range of careers, including cooks, chefs, food preparation, bakers, butchers and administrators. [En Español]

Chefs are typically the second-highest paid individuals in this sector, second only to managers and administrators. Chefs are responsible for everything that goes on in the kitchen, and this extends far beyond simply coordinating cooks and putting menus together.

Chefs typically play a large role in restaurant management in that they make key decisions on pricing, supplies, food service and marketing. The job growth for chefs in the U.S. is promising, with approximately 20,300 annual openings for chefs and head cooks expected in the next eight years

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Idaho

There are no certifications required for those looking to become chefs. Cooks and chefs generally should get plenty of hands-on experience and formal training as they move through their careers in order to stay competitive. An accreditation via the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is also a valuable asset for early and mid-career professionals.

Culinary Arts Training and Educational Programs in Idaho

There are several well-regarded culinary arts schools in Idaho, including:

  • The Culinary Arts Renaissance Campus. The West ADA Culinary Arts Program at the Renaissance Campus is nationally certified by the ACF Education Foundation Accrediting Commission and is also an official ACF testing site. Courses are taught by professional chefs and students are exposed to contemporary culinary trends as well as offered general business training. This program is designed for current high school students who want to get a career head start.
  • The College of Southern Idaho. The College of Southern Idaho-Twin Falls offers a two-year associate’s degree program, which includes placement in local restaurants. Courses focus on all aspects of food safety, food preparation and kitchen management. Internships are part of the course, and placements are often made in the on-campus restaurant.

Certification for Becoming a Chef in Idaho

There is no formal certification required for becoming a chef in Idaho; however, in order to be competitive in the job market, it is typically necessary to have both several years of hands-on experience and a certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a recognized institution. Since being a chef or head cook typically requires some level of managerial experience, it may be useful to consider getting training or experience in finance, business, administration or hospitality management as well.

In addition, professional cooks should consider getting certified by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The ACF has existed for about 90 years, and its aim is to ensure ongoing professional training and support for cooks and chefs. Those with ACF certification tend to stand out amongst the competition.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Chefs and Culinary Artists in Idaho

The state of Idaho is expected to see a fairly large percentage growth in chefs and head cooks in the next eight years or so, with the growth rate expected to be about 17.2 percent, and the number of chefs and head cooks expected to grow from 370 to 430 throughout the state. There will likely be about 60 job openings per year, and salaries average $42,900 annually

The state of Idaho is unique in that it has a higher percentage of fast food and cafeteria settings, but not specifically higher-end restaurants. Thus, there will be plenty of openings for regular cooks, which makes it a great state to live in for those just starting their careers and gaining experience as a cook. The culinary arts in general will be in demand in this state, with about 4,070 job openings expected each year.

Working as a Chef in Idaho

For anyone wishing to follow a career in the culinary arts, they will find plenty of opportunity in any state. Idaho is an excellent state for beginner cooks and chefs to get hands-on experience in mid-level restaurants and other hospitality settings such as resorts and spas.

Fine-dining restaurants, hotels and resorts, spas and personal-chef services will pay top salaries, while casual-dining and fast-food restaurants will pay the lowest.

Restaurant cooks are in high demand throughout the state, but the highest paid are in Midland Texas and Dallas. For Texans who want to become head cooks or chefs, the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston employ the most of these workers. Chefs are generally paid the highest in the Northern Texas nonmetropolitan and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Regardless of location, Texans who are passionate about starting a career in the culinary arts can begin a path to their dream job by seeking entry-level cook jobs and mapping out an education and certification plan.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Coeur d’Alene, ID Area

North Idaho College

1000 West Garden Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho 83814-2199
(208) 769-3300
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

North Idaho College’s Certificate program in Culinary Arts is offered at their campus in the city of Coeur d’Alene, ID. Most of the school’s 5,543 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $3,288 and are $4,624 and $8,160 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,248, depending on the program chosen.

Pocatello, ID Area

Idaho State University

921 S 8th Ave, Pocatello, Idaho 83209
(208) 282-2700
Culinary Arts – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Bachelor Program, Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Idaho State University offers multiple training options, including an Associate program, a Bachelor program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Pocatello. This is a full, 4-year public college with 13,078 students, of which 86% are undergraduates. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $6,956 and for students from outside the state in the order of $21,023 per year, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,000, although this varies from program to program.

Southcentral Idaho nonmetropolitan area Area

College of Southern Idaho

315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls, Idaho 83301
(208) 733-9554
Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

College of Southern Idaho offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Twin Falls. The majority of of the school’s 7,548 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $3,120 and are $4,120 and $6,720 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost roughly $990, 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 ( Confirm with college before applying.

Neighbor States

See options in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Montana.