How to Become a Chef Oregon

With more than 9,000 eating and drinking establishments in the state and annual restaurant sales in the neighborhood of $7 billion, Oregon is experiencing steady, above average job growth in its culinary and hospitality sectors. America’s dean of cooking, James Beard, was an Oregon native and cited Oregon as the place, next to Paris, that had most influenced his professional life. Despite its floral bounty—fantastic strawberries and more than 300 varieties of truffles—it’s only in the 21st Century that Oregon has come into its own as a foodie center. That makes it a great place to work as a chef. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Oregon

High school graduation or an equivalent GED is all you really need to work as a chef in Oregon, but given the state’s growing reputation for farm-to-table freshness and innovative cuisine, studying culinary arts at one of its many schools can only help you obtain a position with your employer of choice.

Culinary Arts Programs in Oregon

Whether you want to go to school in Portland or somewhere else, there are many culinary arts programs to choose from in Oregon. With its emphasis on fresh and organic ingredients and environmentally aware cooking and consumption, Oregon is a great place to get either a diploma or a degree.

  • Oregon Coast Culinary Institute, Coos Bay. Located in the southern part of the state, Oregon Coast Culinary Institute offers a two-year associate’s degree in culinary arts. The first year is coursework; the second includes a three-month externship. Students can choose either the Culinary Arts or the Baking & Pastry Program at this school, which prides itself on being affordable while providing an outstanding educational experience.
  • Oregon Culinary Institute, Portland. Course developers at this downtown private college work closely with industry experts to design and adapt training to match industry demand. Students earn Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry or Restaurant Management diplomas in programs ranging from 16 to 34 weeks with externships, or can choose to complete an associate’s degree Culinary Management. Instructors have industry experience, and there’s a student fine dining restaurant in addition to three labs and conventional classrooms.

Certification and Licensing

In 2015, the Washington Post’s Tom Sietsema ranked Portland, Oregon, as the best food city in America.American Culinary Federation certification is not, however, a requirement in the state.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, chefs in Oregon earn an average of $20.73 per hour and $43,110 per year.

As one of America’s most socially progressive states, Oregon has just celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail and is also one of its most geographically diverse states, with mountains, beaches, flatlands and trails. By 2025, there are expected be almost 27,000 food service industry jobs in the state.

Working as a Chef in Oregon

The vast majority of jobs for chefs are in Portland, the state’s largest city, with a selection of restaurants and food carts that is considered quirky. But you’ll also easily find work in Bend, Eugene, or Ashland, whose annual culinary festival has been in existence for more than a decade now.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Bend, OR Area

Central Oregon Community College

2600 NW College Way, Bend, Oregon 97703
(541) 383-7500
Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Central Oregon Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Bend. Most of the school’s 6,073 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for in-district students is generally in the order of $3,627 and are $4,779 and $9,495 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost around $1,800, depending on the program.

Coastal Oregon nonmetropolitan area Area

Southwestern Oregon Community College

1988 Newmark Ave, Coos Bay, Oregon 97420-2193
(541) 888-2525
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Baking and Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Southwestern Oregon 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 Coos Bay, OR. The majority of of the school’s 2,338 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees are around $5,847 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,500, depending on the program chosen.

Eugene-Springfield, OR Area

Lane Community College

4000 E 30th Ave, Eugene, Oregon 97405-0640
(541) 463-3000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Lane Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are based at their campus in Eugene in Lane County, Oregon. The college has in the region of 8,583 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is around $4,155 and for out-of-state students around $9,483 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $1,365, depending on the program chosen.

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Area

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Portland

600 SW 10th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, Oregon 97205-2793
(503) 223-2245
Pâtisserie And Baking – Certificate Program, Pâtisserie And Baking – Associate Program

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their Portland campus in the city of Portland. This private, for-profit college has about 334 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-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 $12,617 per year.

Mt Hood Community College

26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, Oregon 97030
(503) 491-6422
Business Management: Hospitality – Associate Program

The Associate’s program in Business Management: Hospitality at Mt Hood Community College is offered at their campus in Gresham in Multnomah County. The college has roughly 8,758 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is usually in the order of $5,313 and for students from outside the state in the order of $10,398 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,560, although this will vary with the program.

Pioneer Pacific College

27501 SW Parkway Ave, Wilsonville, Oregon 97070-9296
(503) 682-3903
Baking & Pastry – Hospitality Management – Associate Program, Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program

Pioneer Pacific College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Wilsonville in Clackamas County, OR. The college has approximately 1,170 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. Fees for tuition are generally about $14,649 yearly.

Portland Community College

12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97219-7132
(971) 722-6111
Culinary Assistant Training – Certificate Program

The Culinary Assistant Training Certificate program in Culinary Assistant Training at Portland Community College is offered at their campus in the city of Portland. The majority of of the school’s 29,003 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition fees for in-state students are generally around $3,802 and for out-of-state students approximately $8,446 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,689, although this will depend on the program.

Southern Oregon & Linn County nonmetropolitan area Area

Linn-Benton Community College

6500 Pacific Blvd SW, Albany, Oregon 97321
(541) 917-4999
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Linn-Benton Community College’s Associate program is based at their campus in the city of Albany. The majority of of the school’s 5,721 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $4,512 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $10,043 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $912, although this will vary with the program.

Umpqua Community College

1140 Umpqua College Rd., Roseburg, Oregon 97470-0226
(541) 440-4600
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Hospitality & Restaurant Management – Associate Program

Umpqua Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Roseburg in Douglas County, Oregon. The college has about 2,246 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is roughly about $4,417 and for students from other states around $8,980 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,800, 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

Residents of Oregon may also wish to review their options in Washington, Idaho, Nevada and California.