How to Become a Chef North Carolina

North Carolina is a great state to choose when starting your culinary career. Growth in the food service and restaurant industry is strong, and there are expected to be thousands of new jobs for cooks, chefs, bakers, servers, food preparers and managers opening up in the coming years. To begin an exciting culinary career in North Carolina, choose from one of several great schools with accredited culinary programs. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in North Carolina

North Carolina has no set requirement across the board for training, education, or licensing or certification for cooks or for chefs. You may encounter employers who have minimum requirements, but in general having a high school diploma or a GED is a basic first step in qualifying for a culinary job. You may be able to find a position without any post-secondary education, but expect to have to work your way up from the bottom. With a certificate or degree you can bypass a lot of positions and start out as a cook, training and working up to a leadership role.

Culinary Arts Programs in North Carolina

If you are eager to start your cooking career in North Carolina, consider enrolling in a program accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC):

  • Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Asheville. Asheville-Buncombe offers students associate degrees, which take about two years to complete, in either culinary arts or baking and pastry. There are also certificate programs in culinary studies, baking and pastry, food operations management and hospitality management. Graduates are ready for entry-level cook positions after classroom learning and hands-on training in the school’s restaurant.
  • Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte. Central Piedmont’s ACFEFAC-accredited programs include associate degrees in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts. The programs have also received exemplary status from the accrediting agency. Students can expect to learn from professionals in the industry and to train in a hands-on, kitchen setting.
  • Wake Technical College, Raleigh. In Raleigh, students interested in a culinary career can train at Wake Tech and earn an associate’s degree in baking and pastry or culinary technology. Students graduate ready to begin working in the industry, and while still studying are able to join the North Carolina chapter of the American Culinary Federation. Wake Tech also offers a certificate program in ServSafe, the industry standard for safety and sanitary training in kitchens.

Certification and Licensing

While there is no requirement that chefs or cooks in the state be licensed, if you are thinking of working in the culinary industry in North Carolina you may want to seek national certification. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers certification with the passage of a written and practical exam in any of 16 areas. Certification can allow you to find a better job, out-compete other applicants for a position or command a better salary from a current employer.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

Jobs for culinary professionals are increasing in North Carolina across the board. With a thriving restaurant, hospitality and tourism industry in the state, cooks, chefs, food preparers, managers and bakers are continually in demand. For now, the fastest growing positions are for restaurant cooks, food preparers, chefs and head cooks, bakers and food service managers with growth between 11 and 16 percent.

Salaries are competitive in North Carolina for qualified and experienced culinary professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, head cooks and chefs in the state earned an average of $24.61 per hour or $51,190 per year in 2017. Food service managers have the highest salaries in the industry with an average of $29.30 per hour or $60,950 per year.

Working as a Chef in North Carolina

North Carolina is a great state to work in if you are passionate about food. The state has a strong southern food culture and is well-known for its unique take on barbecue. From rural areas to suburbs and the big cities of Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham and Winston-Salem, North Carolina will offer plenty of career opportunities for dedicated culinary professionals in the coming years.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Asheville, NC Area

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College

340 Victoria Rd, Asheville, North Carolina 28801-4897
(828) 254-1921
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking and Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and two Associate programs. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Asheville. The college has approximately 7,233 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $2,547 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $8,691 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $2,000, although this will vary with the program.

Burlington, NC Area

Alamance Community College

1247 Jimmie Kerr Road, Graham, North Carolina 27253-8000
(336) 578-2002
Culinary Specialist – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Alamance Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Graham in Alamance County, North Carolina. The majority of of the school’s 4,531 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $2,190 and for students from other states around $8,070 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $3,929, depending on the program.

Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC Area

Central Piedmont Community College

1201 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, North Carolina 28204
(704) 330-2722
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking and Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Central Piedmont Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and two Associate programs. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Charlotte. Most of the school’s 19,394 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $2,792 and for students from other states around $8,936 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,443, depending on the program chosen.

Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte

Academic Center, 801 West Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202
(866) 598-2427
Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Johnson & Wales University offers various Associate program options for chefs. All programs are based at their Charlotte campus in the city of Charlotte, NC. The college has roughly 2,218 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The university is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition is broadly in the order of $30,746 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,500, depending on the program.

The Art Institute of Charlotte

Three Lakepointe Plaze, 2110 Water Ridge Parkway, Charlotte, North Carolina 28217-4536
(704) 357-8020
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program, Baking & Pastry – Associate Program

The Art Institute of Charlotte offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Most of the school’s 839 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition is broadly in the order of $17,124 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,500, depending on the program.

Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Area

The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham

410 Blackwell St, Ste 200, Durham, North Carolina 27701
(919) 317-3051
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Art Institute of Raleigh offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are taught at their Durham campus in the city of Durham, NC. The college has about 531 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees are usually around $17,124 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,500, depending on the program chosen.

Fayetteville, NC Area

Fayetteville Technical Community College

2201 Hull Rd, Fayetteville, North Carolina 28303-0236
(910) 678-8400
Baking – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Fayetteville Technical Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Fayetteville. Most of the school’s 11,546 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly in the order of $2,528 and for students from outside the state around $8,672 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,344, although this varies from program to program.

Greensboro-High Point, NC Area

Guilford Technical Community College

601 E. Main Street, Jamestown, North Carolina 27282
(336) 334-4822
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Guilford Technical Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Jamestown in Guilford County. The majority of of the school’s 11,518 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are roughly around $2,176 and are $2,328 and $7,168 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,298, depending on the program.

Virginia College-Greensboro

3740 South Holden Road, Greensboro, North Carolina 27406
(336) 398-5400
Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

Virginia College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their Greensboro campus in the city of Greensboro, North Carolina. Most of the school’s 316 students are on 4-year programs. The cost of tuition is in the order of $14,632 yearly.

Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC Area

Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute

2855 Hickory Boulevard, Hudson, North Carolina 28638
(828) 726-2200
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Culinary Arts at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute can be taken at their campus in Hudson in Caldwell County. The majority of of the school’s 3,251 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $2,508 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,652 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

Northeastern North Carolina nonmetropolitan area Area

Carteret Community College

3505 Arendell St, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557-2989
(252) 222-6000
Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Carteret Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Morehead City, NC. The majority of of the school’s 1,363 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are around $2,847 and for out-of-state students likely to be about $9,759 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,400, depending on the program chosen.

College of the Albemarle

1208 N Road St, Elizabeth City, North Carolina 27906-2327
(252) 335-0821 x0
Culinary Technology – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

College of the Albemarle offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the town of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. This public college has round 2,141 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $2,227 and for students from other states in the order of $6,852 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,037, although this will vary with the program.

Other North Carolina nonmetropolitan area Area

Central Carolina Community College

1105 Kelly Dr, Sanford, North Carolina 27330-9840
(919) 775-5401
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Central Carolina Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the town of Sanford, North Carolina. The majority of of the school’s 4,977 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $2,544 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,688 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,760, depending on the program.

Lenoir Community College

231 Highway 58 South, Kinston, North Carolina 28502-0188
(252) 527-6223
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Lenoir 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 town of Kinston. The majority of of the school’s 2,757 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $2,551 and for out-of-state students in the order of $8,695 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,800, depending on the program chosen.

Robeson Community College

5160 Fayetteville Road, Lumberton, North Carolina 28360
(910) 272-3700
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Robeson Community College’s Associate-level Culinary Arts program is offered at their campus in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina. Most of the school’s 1,936 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally about $2,540 and for students from other states approximately $8,684 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,650, depending on the program chosen.

Sandhills Community College

3395 Airport Rd, Pinehurst, North Carolina 28374
(910) 692-6185
Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Sandhills Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Pinehurst in Moore County. Most of the school’s 3,853 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $2,598 and for students from other states around $8,742 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $2,000, although this will vary with the program.

Vance-Granville Community College

200 Community College Road, Henderson, North Carolina 27537
(252) 492-2061
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Vance-Granville Community College’s Associate-level Culinary Arts program is taught at their campus in the town of Henderson. The college has in the order of 3,257 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $1,944 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $6,552 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,656, depending on the program chosen.

Wilson Community College

902 Herring Ave, Wilson, North Carolina 27893-3310
(252) 291-1195
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Culinary Arts at Wilson Community College can be taken at their campus in the town of Wilson. The college has around 1,786 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $2,552 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $8,716 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $2,500, although this will vary with the program.

Raleigh-Cary, NC Area

Harrison College-Morrisville

2001 Carrington Mill Boulevard, Morrisville, North Carolina 27560-0000
(888) 544-4422 x2
Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Harrison College offers various Associate program options for chefs. All programs are based at their Morrisville campus in Morrisville in Wake County, NC. The majority of of the school’s 202 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 are likely to be about $16,500 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $585, although this will vary with the program.

Wake Technical Community College

9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, North Carolina 27603-5696
(919) 866-5000
Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

Wake Technical Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in Raleigh in Wake County. Most of the school’s 21,003 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are usually about $2,768 and for students from other states in the order of $8,912 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,500, although this will vary with the program.

Rocky Mount, NC Area

Nash Community College

522 N. Old Carriage Road, Rocky Mount, North Carolina 27804
(252) 443-4011
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Nash Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Rocky Mount in Nash County. This public college has roughly 3,116 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $2,632 and for students from other states in the order of $8,776 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,400, depending on the program chosen.

Western Central North Carolina nonmetropolitan area Area

Livingstone College

701 W Monroe St, Salisbury, North Carolina 28144
(704) 216-6000
Hospitality Management – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Hospitality Management at Livingstone College is based at their campus in Salisbury in Rowan County, NC. Most of the school’s 1,262 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $17,764 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,300, although this will vary with the program.

Western North Carolina nonmetropolitan area Area

Southwestern Community College

447 College Dr, Sylva, North Carolina 28779
(828) 339-4000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Southwestern Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Sylva. This public college has approximately 2,469 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $2,213 and for out-of-state students approximately $7,589 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,200, although this will depend on the program.

Wilkes Community College

1328 South Collegiate Dr, Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28697
(336) 838-6100
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking and Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Wilkes Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Wilkesboro, NC. The college has round 2,636 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $2,572 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $8,716 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Wilmington, NC Area

Cape Fear Community College

411 North Front Street, Wilmington, North Carolina 28401-3910
(910) 362-7000
Culinary Technology – Certificate Program, Culinary Technology – Associate Program

Cape Fear Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Wilmington, NC. The majority of of the school’s 8,851 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $2,748 and for students from outside the state in the order of $8,892 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $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

See options in Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia.