How to Become a Chef in Nebraska

Culinary artists may start off as cooks before advancing to the level of chef. Through hands-on experience, they will need to learn about everything that goes into crafting quality food with passion and integrity. This requires training under an executive chef who is highly experienced and willing to act as a mentor. Working as a chef may make you responsible for other cooks, menu planning and sanitation, among many other responsibilities. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Nebraska

In Nebraska, there is no legislation in place requiring cooks or chefs to earn national certification or complete post-secondary training before finding employment. In this industry, your skill will speak for itself. While a high school diploma or GED is often a minimum requirement, some establishments may choose to hire only those who also have national certification, professional experience or a degree or certificate in culinary arts.

In some cities, working as a cook or chef may require you to obtain a food handler’s license. This is essentially a card or permit that can be obtained online for less than $30.

Nebraska Schools for Chefs

Understanding measurements, cooking techniques and safety precautions are just some of the important keys to becoming a successful chef. These skills can be developed by enrolling in a post-secondary education program for culinary artists.

  • The Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College is located in the city of Omaha, Nebraska. The school allows students to earn a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate in Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts and Management. The certificate program can be completed with about one year of study, while the degree program will take two years to complete.
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln offers a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Science, which will require four years of study. Students will learn how to use science when creating new recipes, with classes in sensory evaluation, elements of biochemistry and more.
  • Central Community College has several campuses throughout the state of Nebraska. The school offers an associate’s degree program in Hospitality Management & Culinary Arts, which will require about two years of study to complete. Students may also choose from certificate programs in culinary concepts, baking and more.

National Certification for Chefs in Nebraska

Cooks and chefs across the country can earn certification through the American Culinary Federation. This national certification organization offers a total of 16 certifications. Nine of these are particularly for culinary artists, and range from intermediate-level cooks to executive chefs. Each certification can be earned with professional experience, education or a combination of both.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, there will be a 12.7 percent increase in the job market for chefs in Nebraska during the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026. Their data show that, in 2016, there were 430 chefs working in this state. This number is expected to increase to 480 by 2026.

BLS data from 2017 indicate that chefs in Nebraska earned an average of $23.81 per hour, or $49,520 per year. The top 10 percent of chefs working in this state earned $66,480 during the same year.

Working as a Chef in Nebraska

Nebraska cities like Benkelman, Haigler and Max are where some of the highest paid chefs can be found working in this state. Chefs can find employment at casinos, banquet centers, local restaurants, private dining establishments or entertainment venues. You can even work as a freelance chef, catering local or regional events. There are numerous possibilities when it comes to this artful career. If you feel a passion to explore your creative abilities as it relates to food, consider getting started today on the path to becoming a chef.

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