How to Become a Chef Illinois

If you are creative, enjoy working with food and live in Illinois, you might want to consider becoming a cook, chef or other culinary artist. Managing and cooking in professional kitchens can be rewarding careers in this state, which has higher than average employment growth projections for the field. [En Español]

Cooks generally prepare food to order, answer to managers or chefs and assist in kitchen cleanup. Chefs are often in charge of entire kitchens, according to rank. From entry-level cook to master or personal chef, rankings in the culinary arts field are earned with experience and education

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) requires everyone who handles food in their work environment to obtain ServSafe food handling certification as regulated by the American National Standards Institute. Employees who work with food are subject to health department verifications of current ServSafe training for all staff.

Culinary Arts Training and Educational Programs in Illinois

With enormous career opportunities available for culinary artists in Illinois, the state conveniently offers a wide selection of culinary arts school such as:

  • Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. This well-respected culinary school has locations all over the world and trains more than 20,000 students at a time. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, The Chicago Le Cordon Bleu campus offers an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Culinary Arts and a Culinary Arts Certificate, which are both accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation’s Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC).
  • Kendall College at National Louis University. This college, located in Chicago, offers the rare Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts, which is a difficult program to locate. There is also an associate degree program with an accelerated option available in the culinary arts field.

Certification for Becoming a Chef in Illinois

Someone who wishes to become a cook, chef or food service manager in Illinois should work and gain experience while taking classes and earning a degree or certificate at an accredited culinary arts school. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers a range of nine culinary arts certifications, which one can earn by demonstrating experience and knowledge in culinary arts. Certifications include titles such as Certified Sous Chef (CSC), Certified Master Chef (CMC) and Certified Culinary Administrator (CCA).

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

The job outlook for chefs and cooks in Illinois is very positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that employment for restaurant cooks is expected to increase by 17.3 percent and the chef employment rate may increase by 13.3 percent over the next decade. These growth projections are higher than the national estimate of 9 percent employment growth.

The BLS reported a strong mean income of $22.90 per hour for Illinois chefs and head cooks, $24.68 for food service managers and $11 to $15 dollars per hour for all other culinary artists.

Working as a Chef in Illinois

The best place in Illinois for restaurant cooks to work in 2017 was the Chicago area, which employed more than 30,000 cooks. Restaurant cooks in the Chicago area made mean incomes of $12 to $13 dollars per hour, while chefs and head cooks in Illinois were paid the highest in the Chicago area, Champaign-Urbana and Peoria, where their mean income was over $23 per hour. Illinois has a wide range of options for culinary arts training and with career opportunities opening regularly, now is a good time for food-oriented people to get started in the field of culinary arts.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

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Champaign-Urbana, IL Area

Parkland College

2400 W Bradley Ave, Champaign, Illinois 61821-1899
(217) 351-2200
Food Service – Certificate Program

Parkland College’s Certificate program is taught at their campus in the city of Champaign. The college has around 8,147 students in total, with most students 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-district students are generally about $4,710 and are $11,100 and $15,870 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost around $1,200, depending on the program.

Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL Metropolitan Division Area

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College

30 E Lake St, Chicago, Illinois 60601-2449
(312) 553-5600
Hospitality Management – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Hospitality Management at City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College can be taken at their campus in the city of Chicago, IL. The majority of of the school’s 9,093 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $3,506 and are $8,126 and $11,906 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,900, depending on the program chosen.

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College

6301 S Halsted St, Chicago, Illinois 60621-2709
(773) 602-5000
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Chicago, IL. The college has in the region of 3,989 students in total, with most students 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-district students are generally around $3,506 and are $8,126 and $11,906 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,900, although this will depend on the program.

City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College

1900 W Jackson, Chicago, Illinois 60612-3197
(312) 850-7000
Hospitality Management – Certificate Program

The Hospitality Management Certificate program in Hospitality Management at City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College can be taken at their campus in the city of Chicago, IL. The majority of of the school’s 5,550 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be about $3,506 and are $8,126 and $11,906 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost roughly $1,900, depending on the program chosen.

City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College

7500 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, Illinois 60652-1299
(773) 838-7500
Hospitality Management – Certificate Program

City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College’s Certificate-level Hospitality Management program is taught at their campus in the city of Chicago, IL. Most of the school’s 8,365 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-district students are generally around $3,506 and are $8,126 and $11,906 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,900, although this will depend on the program.

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137-6599
(630) 942-2800
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Culinology – Associate Program

College of DuPage offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Glen Ellyn in Dupage County, IL. The college has in the region of 28,678 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. Tuition fees for in-district students are roughly around $4,050 and are $9,660 and $11,760 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost roughly $1,420, depending on the program chosen.

Elgin Community College

1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, Illinois 60123-7193
(847) 697-1000
Baker – Certificate Program

Elgin Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Elgin. The majority of of the school’s 10,336 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $3,012 and are $10,439 and $11,959 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,500, although this will vary with the program.

Joliet Junior College

1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, Illinois 60431-8938
(815) 729-9020
Desserts / French Pastry / Custards – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Joliet Junior College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Joliet in Will County, Illinois. Most of the school’s 14,944 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-district students are likely to be about $3,750 and are $10,508 and $11,187 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost about $1,350, depending on the program.

Kendall College

900 N. North Branch St., Chicago, Illinois 60642
(312) 752-2000
Baking and Bread – Associate Program, Culinary – Bachelor Program

Kendall College offers various Associate program options for chefs, an Associate program and a Bachelor program. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Chicago. The majority of of the school’s 1,275 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are usually around $19,828 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,800, depending on the program chosen.

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Chicago

361 W Chestnut, Chicago, Illinois 60610
(312) 944-0882
Pâtisserie And Baking – Certificate Program, Pâtisserie And Baking – Associate Program

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their Chicago campus in the city of Chicago. Most of the school’s 1,009 students are 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 is around $13,596 annually.

McHenry County College

8900 US Hwy 14, Crystal Lake, Illinois 60012-2761
(815) 455-3700
Baking and Pasty Assistant – Certificate Program, Baking and Pasty Management – Associate Program

McHenry County College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Crystal Lake in Mchenry County. Most of the school’s 6,561 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $3,404 and are $10,701 and $13,242 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Moraine Valley Community College

9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, Illinois 60465-0937
(708) 974-4300
Baking/Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking and Pastry – Associate Program

Moraine Valley Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Palos Hills in Cook County, Illinois. The majority of of the school’s 15,016 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 likely to be around $4,176 and are $9,216 and $10,686 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost about $1,608, depending on the program chosen.

Robert Morris University Illinois

401 S State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60605
(312) 935-6800
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Culinary Arts at Robert Morris University Illinois is taught at their campus in the city of Chicago, IL. This is a full, 4-year private college with 3,056 students, of which 88% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are around $25,800 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,500, depending on the program chosen.

Saint Augustine College

1333-45 W. Argyle St., Chicago, Illinois 60640-3593
(773) 878-8756
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Saint Augustine College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Chicago. The majority of of the school’s 1,483 students are on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition is usually around $13,200 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago

350 N Orleans St, Suite 136-L, Chicago, Illinois 60654-1593
(312) 280-3500
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program, Culinary Management – Associate Program

The Illinois Institute of Art offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their Chicago campus in the city of Chicago. The college has in the region of 1,331 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Fees for tuition are usually around $17,484 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,500, although this will depend on the program.

Triton College

2000 5th Ave, River Grove, Illinois 60171-1995
(708) 456-0300 x3130
Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program

Triton College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in River Grove in Cook County. Most of the school’s 11,684 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 $3,870 and are $9,360 and $11,630 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,380, although this will depend on the program.

William Rainey Harper College

1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, Illinois 60067-7398
(847) 925-6000
Food Service Management – Certificate Program

William Rainey Harper College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in Palatine in Cook County, IL. The college has in the order of 14,532 students in total, with most students 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-district students are roughly about $3,360 and are $9,528 and $11,340 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,000, although this will depend on the program.

Danville, IL Area

Danville Area Community College

2000 E Main St, Danville, Illinois 61832-5118
(217) 443-3222
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Danville Area Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Danville, Illinois. The college has in the region of 2,692 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. Tuition fees for in-district students are roughly around $4,425 and are $7,500 and $7,500 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost roughly $700, depending on the program chosen.

Decatur, IL Area

Richland Community College

One College Park, Decatur, Illinois 62521-8512
(217) 875-7200
Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program

Richland Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Decatur. The college has around 3,368 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. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $4,230 and are $6,420 and $14,640 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,320, although this will vary with the program.

East Central Illinois nonmetropolitan area Area

Kaskaskia College

27210 College Rd, Centralia, Illinois 62801
(618) 545-3000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Kaskaskia College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in Centralia in Marion County. The majority of of the school’s 4,472 students are 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-district students is generally in the order of $4,470 and are $7,530 and $12,330 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost around $1,393, depending on the program.

Lake County-Kenosha County, IL-WI Metropolitan Division Area

College of Lake County

19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, Illinois 60030-1198
(847) 543-2000
Baking and Pastry Assistant – Certificate Program

College of Lake County offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in Grayslake in Lake County, Illinois. This public college has roughly 14,964 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $3,780 and are $8,736 and $11,564 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,428, although this will vary with the program.

Peoria, IL Area

Illinois Central College

1 College Drive, East Peoria, Illinois 61635-0001
(309) 694-5422
Culinary Arts Management – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts Management – Associate Program

Illinois Central College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in East Peoria in Peoria County, Illinois. Most of the school’s 9,704 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-district students are roughly about $4,200 and are $9,000 and $10,500 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

South Illinois nonmetropolitan area Area

Rend Lake College

468 N Ken Gray Pky, Ina, Illinois 62846
(618) 437-5321
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts Management – Associate Program

Rend Lake College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in Ina in Jefferson County. The college has roughly 2,303 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-district students are likely to be about $3,750 and are $5,700 and $6,450 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost about $1,800, depending on the program chosen.

St. Louis, MO-IL Area

Southwestern Illinois College

2500 Carlyle Ave, Belleville, Illinois 62221-5899
(618) 235-2700
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Southwestern Illinois College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in Belleville in Saint Clair County, IL. The majority of of the school’s 9,943 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $3,420 and are $12,120 and $15,750 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,500, although this varies from program to 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 Illinois may also wish to review their options in Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana.