How to Become a Chef Michigan

With the longest freshwater coastline in America and a unique blend of cultural influences from Great Lakes commerce that has produced very diverse cuisines, Michigan is a great place to work as a chef, pastry chef or food service manager. With its Upper Peninsula known for tourism and the Lower Peninsula for manufacturing, Michigan has something for everyone, from car-free Mackinac Island to Motor City, Detroit. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Michigan

While there are no formal education requirements to become a chef in Michigan and some may choose to work as prep, then sous and line chefs before becoming executive chefs or head cooks, studying in a culinary arts program can help you speed up the promotion process and give you the hands-on training and experience you need to land the job you want in a restaurant, hotel or resort.

Culinary Arts Programs in Michigan

You can choose to do your chef’s training in any part of Michigan, from Ann Arbor to Marquette. There are more than 30 universities, community colleges and specialty culinary institutes offering programs ranging from degrees in hospitality management with an emphasis on casino operations to certificate options that can be completed in less than a year. Here are some of the choices:

  • The Culinary Institute of Michigan, Muskegon. There are three associate degree program options available: Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts, and Food and Beverage Management, as well as a Baking and Pastry certificate option. Students gain real-world experience working at either a Courses restaurant or The Sweet Spot coffee and pastry shop.
  • Henry Ford College, Dearborn. Students can earn credentials in Culinary Skills, Baking and Pastry or Hotel Services within two semesters and can continue to earn either associate degrees in Culinary Arts or Hotel/Restaurant Management. Those who choose to can also complete Bachelor of Science degrees. Courses are available both during the day and evenings and weekends, and students can choose to attend full- or part-time. Internships and a student-run restaurant are also part of the learning experience.

Certification and Licensing

Michigan chefs don’t need to be licensed or certified, but some of the better-paying jobs as executive chefs at country clubs ask for Certified Executive Chef licensing, which can be obtained through American Culinary Federation certification.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

There are currently almost 3,000 chefs working in Michigan, earning an average of $45,310 annually or $21.74 per hour. Job growth for chefs and head cooks between now and 2026 is expected to be as high as 10 percent. To become a chef or head cook, you’ll need about five years’ industry experience.

Working as a Chef in Michigan

The Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Association in the Detroit area is an almost 50-year-old local chapter of the American Culinary Federation with approximately 450 members. Whether you choose the urban option of working in cities such as Detroit, Ann Arbor or Lansing, or prefer to work at a wilderness retreat, rural resort or country club, Michigan takes its food culture seriously and chefs can look forward to long and varied careers.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Ann Arbor, MI Area

Washtenaw Community College

4800 E Huron River Dr, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105-4800
(734) 973-3300
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking and Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Washtenaw Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County. The college has about 12,211 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 $2,424 and are $3,888 and $5,160 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $930, depending on the program.

Balance of Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area Area

Ferris State University

1201 S State St, Big Rapids, Michigan 49307-2251
(231) 591-2000
Culinary Management – Certificate Program

Ferris State University’s Certificate-level Culinary Management program is based at their campus in the town of Big Rapids, Michigan. Of the 14,715 students, about 9% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is around $11,290 and for out-of-state students around $18,048 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $914, depending on the program.

Michigan Career and Technical Institute

11611 West Pine Lake Road, Plainwell, Michigan 49080-9254
(269) 664-4461
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Michigan Career and Technical Institute is based at their campus in Plainwell in Allegan County, Michigan. Most of the school’s 222 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be around $6,816 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $9,892 yearly.

Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Division Area

Henry Ford College

5101 Evergreen Rd, Dearborn, Michigan 48128-1495
(313) 845-9600
Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program, Hotel/Restaurant Management – Associate Program

Henry Ford 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 Dearborn, MI. The college has round 12,755 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 likely to be around $2,822 and are $4,454 and $6,110 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost about $1,464, depending on the program chosen.

Schoolcraft College

18600 Haggerty Road, Livonia, Michigan 48152-2696
(734) 462-4400
Culinary Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Schoolcraft College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Livonia, Michigan. This public college has about 11,687 students in total, with the majority of 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 $3,836 and are $5,216 and $7,316 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,404, although this will vary with the program.

Flint, MI Area

Baker College

1050 West Bristol Road, Flint, Michigan 48507-5508
(810) 766-4000
Baking and Pastry – Associate Program, Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program

Baker College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Flint in Genesee County. Of the 23,790 students, about 2% are postgraduates. The college is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. Tuition fees are around $9,000 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $1,800, although this will depend on the program.

Mott Community College

1401 E Court St, Flint, Michigan 48503-2089
(810) 762-0200
Pastry Techniques – Certificate Program, Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Mott Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and two Associate programs. All programs are based at their campus in the city of Flint, Michigan. The majority of of the school’s 8,617 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 usually around $3,785 and are $5,061 and $6,931 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,006, depending on the program chosen.

Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI Area

Grand Rapids Community College

143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503-3295
(616) 234-4000
Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

Grand Rapids Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Grand Rapids, MI. This public college has approximately 14,926 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 generally around $3,789 and are $7,599 and $11,049 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,016, although this will depend on the program.

Monroe, MI Area

Monroe County Community College

1555 South Raisinville Road, Monroe, Michigan 48161-9746
(734) 242-7300
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Agriculture and Food Studies – Associate Program

Monroe County Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Monroe in Monroe County, MI. Most of the school’s 3,192 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 around $3,880 and are $6,250 and $6,880 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,296, although this will vary with the program.

Northeast Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area Area

Alpena Community College

665 Johnson St, Alpena, Michigan 49707
(989) 356-9021
Culinary Classes – Certificate Program

Alpena Community College’s Certificate program in Culinary Classes is taught at their campus in Alpena in Alpena County, MI. Most of the school’s 1,493 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 roughly about $4,290 and are $6,450 and $6,450 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,000, depending on the program.

Northwest Lower Peninsula of Michigan nonmetropolitan area Area

Northwestern Michigan College

1701 E Front St, Traverse City, Michigan 49686
(231) 995-1000
Culinary Arts – Associate Program, Baking – Certificate Program

Northwestern Michigan College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the town of Traverse City. This public college has round 4,264 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is 83%. The cost of tuition for in-district students is roughly around $3,582 and are $6,630 and $8,501 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,500, depending on the program.

Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills, MI Metropolitan Division Area

Dorsey Business Schools-Roseville Culinary Academy

31522 Gratiot Ave, Roseville, Michigan 48066
(586) 296-3225
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Culinary Arts Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Dorsey Business Schools-Roseville Culinary Academy is based at their campus in Roseville in Macomb County, Michigan. Most of the school’s 141 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $20,976 annually.

Dorsey Business Schools-Waterford Pontiac

440 N Telegraph Rd, Pontiac, Michigan 48341
(248) 333-1814
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Dorsey Business Schools’s Certificate-level Culinary Arts program is based at their Waterford Pontiac campus in the city of Pontiac. The college has around 156 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. Fees for tuition are broadly about $19,872 for each academic year.

Macomb Community College

14500 E Twelve Mile Rd, Warren, Michigan 48088-3896
(586) 445-7999
Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

Macomb Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Warren. The college has roughly 22,182 students in total, with the majority of 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 likely to be in the order of $3,282 and are $5,855 and $7,405 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,566, although this varies from program to program.

Oakland Community College

2480 Opdyke Rd, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48304-2266
(248) 341-2000
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Oakland Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Bloomfield Hills in Oakland County, Michigan. This public college has around 21,061 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. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $2,940 and are $5,430 and $5,430 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost about $1,450, although this will vary with the program.

The Art Institute of Michigan

28125 Cabot Drive, Suite 120, Novi, Michigan 48377-2985
(248) 675-3800
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Art Institute of Michigan offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Novi, Michigan. Most of the school’s 800 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The cost of tuition is in the order of $14,928 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,500, although this will vary with 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 Michigan may also wish to review their options in Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin.