How to Become a Chef in Maine
In the last few years, Maine’s hospitality industry has experienced record growth. Restaurant sales in 2017 were $2.8 billion, representing growth of 4 percent in this sector, and 2018 was on track to see similar growth. However, an aging population and restrictions on foreign labor have resulted in a chef (and other restaurant worker) shortage for the seasonal summer tourism industry in this state. So, now is a great time to consider becoming a chef in Maine, especially since HospitalityMaine’s Apprenticeship Program launches in 2019, providing Maine Community College students with paid apprenticeships while they train to become chefs. [En Español]
Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Maine
You’re not required to complete either formal education or apprenticeship training to become a chef in Maine. But with paid apprenticeship programs and many educational options, from certificate to associate’s to bachelor’s degree programs, some formal education will undoubtedly make you a more attractive prospect to restaurants looking to hire and might help you get promoted more quickly.
Culinary Arts Programs in Maine
You can study to become a chef in Auburn, Bangor, Calais, Portland, Orono, Waterville or Wells. Many Maine coastal chefs have been named to James Beard’s “Best Of list. Whether you want to master seafood or become a pastry chef, here are some of the places you can learn your trade:
- Southern Maine Community College, Portland. The program here is an associate’s degree in culinary arts that includes a 400-hour externship. Students can choose study tours in either Italy or Austria as elective credits. The college estimates students can complete the program in four and a half semesters.
- Eastern Maine Community College, Bangor. Graduates will earn an associate’s degree in this two-year program that will prepare them for both entry- and mid-level positions. There is also a one-year food services certificate program that trains students in basic skills. Students in both programs get hands-on experience at the campus restaurant, The Rangeley Cafe.
Certification and Licensing
Given the shortage of hospitality workers in general and food service workers in particular, Maine’s launch of an apprenticeship program means it’s open to new ideas to train and retain its food service workers. Employers may well be open to helping employees gain American Culinary Federation certification and other continuing education, although the state has no certification or licensing requirements for its chefs.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Maine’s chefs can expect to earn $45,680 annually or $21.96 hourly on average. With the shortage of food service workers and the recent boom in tourism, job prospects are good. Prospective chefs can work in any one of Maine’s cities or may find themselves working in small resort communities with an award-winning farm-to-table executive chef.
Working as a Chef in Maine
While the tourism business in Maine is definitely seasonal, its unique, seafood-based cuisine offers opportunities for development few other states can. Whether your goal is to work at a resort or open your own gastro-pub, Maine offers many exciting opportunities for both new and experienced chefs.
Eastern Maine Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Bangor, Maine. The majority of of the school’s 2,732 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is in the order of $3,676 and for students from outside the state around $6,436 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,000, although this varies from program to program.
1250 Turner Street, Auburn, Maine 04210-6498
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program
The Culinary Arts Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Central Maine Community College can be taken at their campus in Auburn in Androscoggin County. This public college has about 2,984 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $3,540 and for out-of-state students approximately $6,300 annually. Books and supplies can cost about $1,200, depending on the program chosen.
2 Fort Road, South Portland, Maine 04106-1698
Culinary Arts – Associate Program
Southern Maine Community College’s Associate program in Culinary Arts is offered at their campus in the city of South Portland, Maine. The majority of of the school’s 6,045 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $3,760 and for students from other states around $6,520 for each academic year. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,400, although this will depend on the program.
York County Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Wells in York County, Maine. The majority of of the school’s 1,758 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Technical and Career Institutions. The cost of tuition for in-state students is about $3,540 and for students from other states in the order of $6,300 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,360, 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.