How to Become a Chef New York

Chefs and cooks are the culinary professionals who prepare food in restaurants, hotels, cafeterias, hospitals, food trucks and in the private homes of people who can afford personal chefs. You could be one of these creative professionals if you have a passion for food and cooking. [En Español]

New York State has opportunities everywhere for qualified cooks and chefs, but New York City is one of the most exciting culinary regions in the world. It’s not a bad place to start your career in this industry.

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in New York

You do not have to meet any specific, statewide requirements for training, education or licensing to work as a chef in New York. Individual employers may have minimum requirements, however, such as an associate’s degree in culinary arts or pastry arts. It is possible to start a kitchen career at the bottom and work your way up to cook or chef while learning on the job. An alternative to this path, which can be hit-or-miss, is to complete a post-secondary academic program in some area of culinary skills.

Culinary Arts Programs in New York

The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC) accredits culinary programs. There are several accredited programs in New York, but it is not necessary to study at one of these. There are excellent programs accredited by other institutions.

  • The Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College, New Rochelle. Both the associate’s degree programs at the Culinary Institute are ACFEFAC-accredited. You can choose between culinary arts and baking and pastry. Located just outside of Manhattan, this is a great spot to have access to some of the best restaurants in the country. The school has its own restaurants, and students get to learn and work in them. Many of the instructors are highly decorated and certified chefs.
  • SUNY Schenectady County Community College, Schenectady. SUNY’s associate’s degree program in culinary arts is also ACFEFAC-accredited. There is an option to concentrate in baking or beverage management. Students here can also choose to earn a two-year associate’s degree in craft beer brewing or craft spirit distillation. All students get plenty of hands-on experience in their chosen areas of study.
  • Institute of Culinary Education, New York City. Right in the heart of the culinary world, with thousands of restaurants and some of the best in the world, is a great place to get culinary training. The school is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and has been designated a “School of Distinction. The culinary program includes 650 instructional hours, with 210 hours as real-world work experience in an actual restaurant.

Certification and Licensing

There is no requirement to be licensed or certified before working as a chef or cook. If you do choose to get certified, though, the American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a good option. The ACF is recognized and respected in all 50 states and offers 16 types of certification. You can qualify for certification by passing an exam. Having certification may help you get a job or earn a higher salary.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The culinary scene in New York, especially in New York City, is big and growing. The job outlook across the state is largely positive for culinary careers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in the number of jobs for head cooks and chefs, for all restaurant cooks, for bakers and for food preparers is 19.1 percent, 19.7 percent, 17.5 percent and 25.2 percent, respectively.

Head cooks and chefs in New York earn an average of $48,520 per year and $23.33 per hour, but the top earners in these roles are making $81,710 annually and higher. Bakers make about $29,570 per year and $14.22 per hour, and food service managers in New York earn, on average, $72,170 per year and $34.70 per hour.

Working as a Chef in New York

There are great opportunities to work in restaurants, bakeries, hotels, resorts, hospitals, catering companies and other food service jobs throughout the state of New York. However, you will find the most options in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. Other large cities in the state, like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, also offer great options for anyone who has trained in the culinary arts and is ready to start a career in the professional kitchen.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

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Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY Area

Schenectady County Community College

78 Washington Avenue, Schenectady, New York 12305
(518) 381-1200
Assistant Chef – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Schenectady County Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Schenectady, NY. The majority of of the school’s 6,126 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees for in-state students are around $4,368 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,088 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,200, depending on the program.

SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill

State Route 7, Cobleskill, New York 12043
(518) 255-5525
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Culinary Arts Associate’s program in Culinary Arts at SUNY College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill is based at their campus in the town of Cobleskill. The college has approximately 2,441 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly in the order of $7,929 and for students from outside the state around $17,779 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,200, depending on the program.

Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY Area

Erie Community College

121 Ellicott St, Buffalo, New York 14203-2698
(716) 851-1322
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Erie Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Buffalo, New York. Most of the school’s 12,022 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $5,408 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $10,141 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,100, although this will vary with the program.

Niagara County Community College

3111 Saunders Settlement Rd, Sanborn, New York 14132
(716) 614-6222
Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Niagara County Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in Sanborn in Niagara County. The majority of of the school’s 6,116 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $4,518 and for out-of-state students in the order of $10,638 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,000, depending on the program chosen.

Capital/Northern New York nonmetropolitan area Area

Clinton Essex Warren Washington BOCES

1585 Military Turnpike, Plattsburgh, New York 12901-0455
(518) 561-0100
Culinary Arts Management – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts Management at Clinton Essex Warren Washington BOCES can be taken at their campus in the town of Plattsburgh, New York. The majority of of the school’s 74 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The college’s retention rate for full-time students is over 80%. Fees for tuition are usually about $10,225 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,627, depending on the program chosen.

Paul Smiths College of Arts and Science

7777 State Route 30, Paul Smiths, New York 12970-0265
(518) 327-6000
Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program, Baking Arts & Service Management – Bachelor Program

Paul Smiths College of Arts and Science offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Bachelor program. Classes are taken at their campus in Paul Smiths in Franklin County, NY. This private, not-for-profit college has in the order of 885 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees are around $27,103 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $1,000, although this will depend on the program.

Central New York nonmetropolitan area Area

Sullivan County Community College

112 College Road, Loch Sheldrake, New York 12759-5151
(845) 434-5750
Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Sullivan County Community College offers various Associate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in Loch Sheldrake in Sullivan County, NY. This public college has roughly 1,595 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally about $5,550 and for students from other states approximately $10,224 annually, while study materials may cost around $1,450, depending on the program.

SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

2 Main Street, Delhi, New York 13753-1100
(607) 746-4000
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

SUNY College of Technology at Delhi’s Associate program is based at their campus in the town of Delhi. Of the 3,457 students, about 1% are postgraduates. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly in the order of $7,875 and for students from outside the state around $12,245 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,600, although this varies from program to program.

Glens Falls, NY Area

Adirondack Community College

640 Bay Rd, Queensbury, New York 12804
(518) 743-2200
Commercial Cooking – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Adirondack Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Queensbury in Warren County. The college has in the region of 3,993 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $4,693 and for students from outside the state in the order of $8,869 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,400, although this will vary with the program.

Ithaca, NY Area

Tompkins Cortland Community College

170 North St, Dryden, New York 13053-0139
(607) 844-8211
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Tompkins Cortland Community College’s Associate-level Culinary Arts program is taught at their campus in the town of Dryden. The majority of of the school’s 3,083 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $5,832 and for students from outside the state in the order of $10,922 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Nassau-Suffolk, NY Metropolitan Division Area

Nassau Community College

One Education Dr, Garden City, New York 11530-6793
(516) 572-7501
Food Service Technology – Certificate Program

Nassau Community College’s Certificate-level Food Service Technology program is offered at their campus in Garden City in Nassau County, NY. The college has about 21,558 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $5,248 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $10,116 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,800, although this will vary with the program.

Suffolk County Community College

533 College Rd, Selden, New York 11784-2899
(631) 451-4110
Culinary Arts: Baking and Pastry Arts Option – Certificate Program

Suffolk County Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in Selden in Suffolk County. The college has roughly 26,829 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $5,500 and for students from outside the state in the order of $10,270 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,440, depending on the program chosen.

New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ Metropolitan Division Area

Culinary Tech Center

460 West 34th Street, New York, New York 10001-2320
(646) 559-8551
Chef Training – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Chef Training at Culinary Tech Center can be taken at their campus in the city of New York. This private, for-profit college has round 116 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The Chef Training program, with a duration of 600 contact hours, is the college’s largest program. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Tuition fees are in the order of $12,195 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,800, although this will depend on the program.

CUNY Kingsborough Community College

2001 Oriental Blvd, Brooklyn, New York 11235
(718) 368-5000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

CUNY Kingsborough Community College’s Certificate program is taught at their campus in the city of Brooklyn. Most of the school’s 17,032 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually in the order of $5,256 and for students from outside the state in the order of $8,136 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,364, although this will vary with the program.

Institute of Culinary Education

225 Liberty Street, New York, New York 10281
(212) 847-0700
Pastry & Baking Arts – Certificate Program

Institute of Culinary Education offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of New York. The majority of of the school’s 626 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Fees for tuition are generally about $37,249 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $2,851, although this will depend on the program.

Monroe College

2501 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, New York 10468
(718) 933-6700
Baking and Pastry – Associate Program

Monroe College offers various Associate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Bronx. This is a full, 4-year private college with 6,858 students, of which 89% are undergraduates. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees are around $14,460 annually. Learning materials may cost roughly $900, although this will depend on the program.

Rockland Community College

145 College Rd, Suffern, New York 10901-3699
(845) 574-4000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Culinary Arts Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Rockland Community College is based at their campus in Suffern in Rockland County, New York. The majority of of the school’s 7,180 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually about $4,815 and for students from other states in the order of $9,245 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,320, depending on the program chosen.

The International Culinary Center

462 Broadway, New York, New York 10013-2618
(212) 219-8890
Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

The International Culinary Center offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of New York, NY. The college has around 470 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The cost of tuition is in the order of $39,050 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $850, although this will depend on the program.

Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY Area

Culinary Institute of America

1946 Campus Drive, Hyde Park, New York 12538-1499
(845) 452-9600
Baking and Pastry Arts – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Culinary Institute of America offers multiple training options, including an Associate program, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Hyde Park in Dutchess County. Most of the school’s 2,859 students are on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is, as a rough guide, in the order of $30,730 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $800, although this varies from program to program.

Rochester, NY Area

Finger Lakes Community College

3325 Marvin Sands Drive, Canandaigua, New York 14424-8395
(585) 394-3500
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Finger Lakes Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Canandaigua in Ontario County. This public college has in the region of 6,755 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $4,952 and for out-of-state students in the order of $9,320 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $900, depending on the program chosen.

Monroe Community College

1000 E Henrietta Rd, Rochester, New York 14623
(585) 292-2000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Monroe Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in Rochester in Monroe County, New York. The college has round 14,586 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $4,959 and for students from other states in the order of $9,059 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Southwest New York nonmetropolitan area Area

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

10 Upper College Drive, Alfred, New York 14802
(800) 425-3733
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

SUNY College of Technology at Alfred’s Associate program in Culinary Arts is offered at their campus in the town of Alfred, NY. The majority of of the school’s 3,699 students are on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $8,075 and for out-of-state students approximately $14,635 annually, while books and supplies may cost around $1,200, although this varies from program to program.

Syracuse, NY Area

Onondaga Community College

4585 West Seneca Turnpike, Syracuse, New York 13215-4585
(315) 498-2622
Culinary Management – Certificate Program

Onondaga Community College’s Certificate-level Culinary Management program is offered at their campus in Syracuse in Onondaga County. The college has around 11,886 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is usually around $5,154 and for out-of-state students in the order of $9,724 per year. Books and supplies can cost in the order of $1,230, although this will depend on the program.

Utica-Rome, NY Area

Mohawk Valley Community College

1101 Sherman Dr, Utica, New York 13501-5394
(315) 792-5400
Culinary Arts Management – Certificate Program

Mohawk Valley Community College’s Certificate-level Culinary Arts Management program is offered at their campus in the city of Utica, NY. The majority of of the school’s 6,675 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is about $4,860 and for students from other states around $8,944 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,565, 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.

Neighbor States

See options in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont.