How to Become a Chef Pennsylvania

Becoming a chef will require you to learn both basic and advanced culinary techniques. You may start off as a cook, preparing dishes under the supervision of an executive chef. After sharpening your skills through increased understanding of the trade, you may become a chef who plans menus, supervises other cooks and ensures proper health and safety measures are being upheld in the kitchen. This career will require a high level of focus, determination and motivation to refine your skills. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Pennsylvania

Working as a chef in Utah does not require any state-mandated certifications or levels of education. However, since this is a culinary position that holds more responsibility than an entry-level food service job, you will likely need some professional experience or certification in order to land employment. Completing a post-secondary training program in culinary arts will also make it easier to become a chef. If you want to work as an entry-level cook, you will likely be able to do so with only a high school diploma or GED.

A food handler’s license may be a requirement to work as a cook or chef in certain cities. If this is a requirement in your city, this card or permit can be obtained online for less than $30.

Pennsylvania Schools for Chefs

Earning a degree or certificate in culinary arts is an excellent option if you want to advance quickly within the industry. Learning safety measures and cooking techniques will be necessary to work as a successful chef, regardless of the state in which you work.

  • The Culinary Arts Institute of Montgomery County Community College is located in the city of Lansdale. The school offers both certificate and degree programs for culinary artists and pastry chefs. Certificate programs can be completed in about one year, while degree programs will require two years of study to complete. In addition to culinary classes, the degree program’s topics of study include hospitality fundamentals, public speaking and business mathematics.
  • The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College is located in the city of Philadelphia and allows students to earn an Associate of Science degree in culinary arts, which can be completed with two years of study. Students will receive hands-on training preparing French cuisine at the school’s campus restaurant, Bistro Perrier.
  • The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts is a division of YTI Career Institute and is located in the city of Lancaster. Students will earn an Associate in Specialized Business degree, which can be completed within less than two years. A three-month externship is required for graduation.

National Certification for Chefs in Pennsylvania

Chefs can earn national certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The organization offers nine certifications for culinary artists, ranging from intermediate-level chefs to executive chef certifications. There are 16 ACF certifications available in total, which include those for students, teachers, pastry chefs and military chefs.

While earning certification is not required by law, it may be a requirement to work in certain establishments. It could also allow you to earn higher compensation in culinary establishments where there is no certification required. To earn any of the ACF certifications, you may need to show proof of professional experience, education or a combination of both.

Job Outlook and Salary Expectations

In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data that stated that there were 3,830 people employed as chefs in Pennsylvania. By 2026, the Projections Managing Partnership expects this number will jump to 4,170, indicating an 8.8 percent increase in the job market during this 10-year period.

On average, chefs working in Pennsylvania earned $26.02 per hour, or $54,110 per year, according to BLS data released in 2017. The top 10 percent of chefs in this state earned an average of $77,570 during the same year.

Working as a Chef in Pennsylvania

Matamoras, Newtown and Washington Crossing are where some of the top-paid chefs in Pennsylvania can be found working. More specifically, you can expect to find employment as a chef in local restaurants, fine dining establishments, banquet centers and other entertainment venues.

Working as a freelance chef is possible if you have great determination. This can be achieved by leveraging your presence on social media and networking in environments with prominent people. There are many possibilities available for aspiring culinary artists or pastry chefs who are passionate about what they do and willing to develop their expertise.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

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Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Area

Northampton County Area Community College

3835 Green Pond Rd, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 18020-7599
(610) 861-5300
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Northampton County Area Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in Bethlehem in Northampton County, Pennsylvania. The college has in the order of 10,269 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-district students are generally around $4,110 and are $8,970 and $13,230 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,800, although this will depend on the program.

Altoona, PA Area

Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center

1500 Fourth Avenue, Altoona, Pennsylvania 16602-3616
(814) 946-8450
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center is taught at their campus in the city of Altoona, PA. This public college has about 287 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools. The cost of tuition is, as a rough guide, in the order of $14,490 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,394, although this varies from program to program.

Erie, PA Area

Mercyhurst University-North East Campus

16 W Division St, North East, Pennsylvania 16428
(814) 725-6100
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Mercyhurst University offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their North East campus in the town of North East. The college, which has a Roman Catholic religious affiliation,, which has a Roman Catholic religious affiliation, has in the order of 916 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The university is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees are usually around $17,500 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Far Western Pennsylvania nonmetropolitan area Area

Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus

1011 South Dr 201 Sutton Hall, Indiana, Pennsylvania 15705-1098
(724) 357-2100
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Indiana University of Pennsylvania offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their Main campus in the town of Indiana. This is a full, 4-year public college with 13,835 students, of which 84% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition for in-state students is in the order of $11,368 and for students from outside the state in the order of $22,377 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,100, although this will vary with the program.

Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Area

Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg

1 HACC Dr., Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17110-2999
(717) 780-2300
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

Harrisburg Area Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are offered at their Harrisburg campus in the city of Harrisburg, PA. This public college has about 19,121 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-district students is likely to be in the order of $6,525 and are $7,785 and $9,225 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost about $1,728, although this will vary with the program.

Keystone Technical Institute

2301 Academy Dr, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17112-1012
(717) 545-4747
Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program, Baking and Pastry Arts with Management – Associate Program

Keystone Technical Institute offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and two Associate programs. All programs are imparted at their campus in Harrisburg in Dauphin County. The college has about 318 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. Tuition fees are around $30,156 for each academic year, while study materials may cost around $3,127, although this will depend on the program.

Johnstown, PA Area

Commonwealth Technical Institute

727 Goucher St, Johnstown, Pennsylvania 15905-3092
(814) 255-8200
Culinary Arts – Kitchen Helper – Certificate Program

Commonwealth Technical Institute’s Certificate program is taught at their campus in Johnstown in Cambria County. The majority of of the school’s 177 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. Fees for tuition are about $16,836 for each academic year.

Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center

445 Schoolhouse Rd, Johnstown, Pennsylvania 15904-2998
(814) 266-6073
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Greater Johnstown Career and Technology Center’s Certificate program in Culinary Arts is taught at their campus in Johnstown in Cambria County. The college has about 155 students in total, with most students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Education, Bureau of Career and Technical Education. Tuition fees are usually around $16,540 annually. Study materials can cost around $1,025, depending on the program chosen.

Lancaster, PA Area

Lancaster County Career and Technology Center

1730 Hans Herr Dr, Willow Street, Pennsylvania 17584
(717) 464-7050
Baking & Pastry Arts – Certificate Program

Lancaster County Career and Technology Center’s Certificate-level Baking & Pastry Arts program is offered at their campus in Willow Street in Lancaster County. The college has about 467 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Tuition fees are usually around $12,744 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,296, depending on the program chosen.

Lebanon, PA Area

Lebanon County Area Vocational Technical School

833 Metro Dr, Lebanon, Pennsylvania 17042
(717) 273-8551 x2018
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Lebanon County Area Vocational Technical School’s Certificate-level Culinary Arts program is taught at their campus in Lebanon in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. The majority of of the school’s 190 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Education, Bureau of Career and Technical Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $11,950 yearly.

Philadelphia, PA Metropolitan Division Area

Bucks County Community College

275 Swamp Rd, Newtown, Pennsylvania 18940-4106
(215) 968-8000
Foods Emphasis – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Bucks County Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Newtown in Bucks County. This public college has approximately 8,611 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $4,298 and are $7,898 and $11,498 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost roughly $1,700, depending on the program chosen.

Community College of Philadelphia

1700 Spring Garden St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19130-3991
(215) 751-8000
Culinary Arts – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Community College of Philadelphia offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Philadelphia, PA. The college has about 18,966 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $4,920 and are $9,360 and $13,800 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost roughly $1,350, although this will depend on the program.

Drexel University

3141 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
(215) 895-2000
Culinary Arts and Food Science – Bachelor Program

Drexel University offers various Bachelor program options for chefs. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Philadelphia. This is a full, 4-year private college with 25,595 students, of which 64% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is 84%. Tuition fees are broadly around $51,030 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,700, depending on the program.

Jna Institute of Culinary Arts

1212 S Broad St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19146
(215) 468-8800
Professional Cooking – Certificate Program

Jna Institute of Culinary Arts’s Certificate-level Professional Cooking program is taught at their campus in the city of Philadelphia, PA. The majority of of the school’s 43 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $12,725 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,735, depending on the program chosen.

Montgomery County Community College

340 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, Pennsylvania 19422-0796
(215) 641-6300
Baking and Pastry – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Montgomery County Community College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Blue Bell in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. This public college has in the region of 12,372 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-district students is roughly in the order of $5,610 and are $10,230 and $14,850 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost in the order of $1,300, depending on the program.

The Art Institute of Philadelphia

1622 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-5198
(215) 567-7080
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

The Art Institute of Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Most of the school’s 1,536 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 $17,916 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,500, although this varies from program to program.

The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College

4207 Walnut St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104
(215) 222-4200 x3015
Pastry Arts – Associate Program, Restaurant Management – Bachelor Program

The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Bachelor program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Philadelphia. The college has in the region of 407 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Fees for tuition are broadly about $23,550 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,560, depending on the program.

Pittsburgh, PA Area

Bidwell Training Center Inc

1815 Metropolitan St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15233
(412) 323-4000
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Bidwell Training Center Inc is taught at their campus in the city of Pittsburgh. The majority of of the school’s 180 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $12,000 annually.

Butler County Community College

107 College Drive, Butler, Pennsylvania 16002
(724) 287-8711
Crepe Cuisine – Certificate Program, Perfect Pantry – Associate Program

Butler County Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Butler, PA. The college has about 3,573 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-district students are generally about $4,590 and are $7,710 and $10,830 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost around $1,300, although this will vary with the program.

Community College of Allegheny County

800 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15233-1895
(412) 323-2323
Culinary Arts – Associate Program, Foodservice Management – Certificate Program

Community College of Allegheny County offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The college has roughly 16,737 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $4,131 and are $7,520 and $10,751 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost roughly $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Community College of Beaver County

1 Campus Drive, Monaca, Pennsylvania 15061-2588
(724) 480-2222
Cook’s Assistant – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts Management – Associate Program

Community College of Beaver County offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in Monaca in Beaver County. The college has in the order of 2,303 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-district students is roughly in the order of $5,790 and are $11,130 and $16,470 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,200, depending on the program.

Pittsburgh Technical College

1111 McKee Road, Oakdale, Pennsylvania 15071
(412) 809-5100
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Pittsburgh Technical College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Oakdale in Allegheny County, PA. Most of the school’s 1,936 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is usually in the order of $16,415 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,350, depending on the program chosen.

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh

420 Boulevard of the Allies, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219-1328
(412) 291-6200
Baking & Pastry – Associate Program, Hospitality Food & Beverage Management – Certificate Program

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the city of Pittsburgh, PA. This private, for-profit college has in the order of 919 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $17,628 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,500, depending on the program.

Westmoreland County Community College

145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, Pennsylvania 15697-1895
(724) 925-4000
Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program

Westmoreland County Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their campus in Youngwood in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. This public college has about 5,517 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-district students is likely to be in the order of $5,070 and are $8,910 and $12,570 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Reading, PA Area

Reading Area Community College

10 S Second St, Reading, Pennsylvania 19603-1706
(610) 372-4721
Culinary Arts (Certified Cook) – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts (Certified Cook) at Reading Area Community College can be taken at their campus in the city of Reading. Most of the school’s 4,090 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $5,310 and are $9,120 and $10,050 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost in the order of $1,800, depending on the program.

Scranton–Wilkes-Barre, PA Area

Keystone College

One College Green, La Plume, Pennsylvania 18440-0200
(570) 945-8000
Hospitality Business Management – Associate Program

The Hospitality Business Management Associate’s degree program in Hospitality Business Management at Keystone College is taught at their campus in La Plume in Lackawanna County, PA. Of the 1,459 students, about 3% are postgraduates. The college is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition are likely to be about $25,798 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $200, although this will vary with the program.

Lackawanna College

501 Vine St, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18509-3206
(570) 961-7810
Baking & Pastry – Associate Program

The Associate’s degree program in Baking & Pastry at Lackawanna College can be taken at their campus in the city of Scranton, PA. The college has about 1,629 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $14,580 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,500, although this varies from program to program.

Luzerne County Community College

1333 South Prospect Street, Nanticoke, Pennsylvania 18634-3899
(570) 740-0200
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Pastry Arts Management – Associate Program

Luzerne County 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 Nanticoke in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. This public college has approximately 5,788 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-district students are likely to be about $5,040 and are $9,120 and $13,200 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost about $2,000, although this will depend on the program.

Williamsport, PA Area

Pennsylvania College of Technology

One College Ave, Williamsport, Pennsylvania 17701-5799
(570) 326-3761
Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Pennsylvania College of Technology offers various Associate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Williamsport, PA. This public college has approximately 5,514 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 in-state students is usually around $16,080 and for out-of-state students in the order of $22,890 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,400, depending on the program chosen.

York-Hanover, PA Area

YTI Career Institute-York

1405 Williams Road, York, Pennsylvania 17402
(717) 757-1100
Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management – Associate Program

YTI Career Institute offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their York campus in York in York County, Pennsylvania. Most of the school’s 1,421 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $30,849 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost roughly $3,500, 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 Pennsylvania may also wish to review their options in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio.