How to Become a Chef Puerto Rico

Chefs are tasked with a high level of responsibility in the kitchen. They will need to supervise cooks, ensuring that cooking instructions are being followed and that safety measures, along with standards of hygiene, are being kept. [En Español]

Starting off as a cook is a common path for many chefs. They will work under an executive chef in order to establish their expertise and learn about seasoning combinations, garnishing techniques and the necessary proportions to prepare a dish that meets the standards of the executive chef.

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Puerto Rico

When you’re first starting out in this industry, you will likely need to work as an entry-level cook, which will require at least a high school diploma or GED. To work as a chef, you will need to complete a post-secondary training program or have some level of professional cooking experience. Earning national certification will exemplify your ability to work as a chef and to handle the responsibilities that come along with this title.

In certain cities, a food handler’s license is required to work as a cook or chef. This license comes in the form of a card or permit, which can be obtained online for less than $30.

Puerto Rico Schools for Chefs

If you decide to enroll in a training program for culinary artists, you should consider the ones below. They have been designed to equip you with the tools necessary to succeed in this industry.

  • National University College-IBC Institute has locations across the island of Puerto Rico. The school offers an associate’s degree program in culinary arts. You may also choose to study local and international baking or bartending. The associate’s degree program will require two years of study to complete. Certificate programs are also available and will require one year of study to complete.
  • Ivaem College is located in the city of Caguas. The school offers certificate programs for both culinary artists and pastry chefs. These programs will require 16 months of study to complete
  • Escuela Hotelera de San Juan allows students to complete extensive courses in culinary arts and pastry-making. These courses can be completed within about two years or less. Seminars and one-day workshops are also available

National Certification for Chefs in Puerto Rico

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers multiple certifications for culinary artists, pastry chefs, military chefs, students and educators. These certifications can be earned depending on your level of education, professional experience or a combination of both. Some employers will require you to earn certification, while other establishments may be willing to offer you a higher level of compensation because of these credentials.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released data that showed there were 610 people employed as chefs in Puerto Rico. By 2026, this number is expected to jump to 660, indicating an 8.5 percent increase in the job market during this 10-year period.

On average, chefs working in Puerto Rico earned $17.11 per hour, or $35,580 per year, according to BLS data released in 2017. The top 10 percent of chefs on the island earned an average of $55,290 during the same year. It is important to note, however, that due to recent austerity measures, chefs in Puerto Rico may earn less than what past BLS figures indicate.

Working as a Chef in Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, some of the most prominent and popular restaurants are located in the city of San Juan. Hence, this city may be where some of the highest paid chefs working in Puerto Rico can be found.

Chefs have the option of seeking employment in casinos, local restaurants, private dining establishments, casinos and other entertainment venues. By building your presence on social media or perfecting your networking skills, you may even choose to become a freelance chef, where you may cater local events or work as a personal chef to public figures.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Aguadilla-Isabela, PR Area

Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Aguadilla

Barrio Corrales Sector Calero, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico 00603
(787) 891-0925 x2100
Bakery and Commercial Bakery – Certificate Program

Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s Certificate-level Bakery and Commercial Bakery program is taught at their Aguadilla campus in Aguadilla in Aguadilla County, PR. Of the 4,581 students, about 100% are postgraduates. The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition are about $5,654 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $900, although this will depend on the program.

Universal Technology College of Puerto Rico

111 Comercio St, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico 00603
(787) 882-2065 x239
Artes Culinarias – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Artes Culinarias at Universal Technology College of Puerto Rico is taught at their campus in Aguadilla in Aguadilla County. The college has roughly 374 students in total, with most students on 4-year programs. The Universal Technology College of Puerto Rico has institutional accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The cost of tuition is in the order of $18,800 yearly. Study materials can cost about $1,330, depending on the program chosen.

Arecibo, PR Area

ICPR Junior College-Arecibo

20 San Patricio, Arecibo, Puerto Rico 00614-0067
(787) 878-6000
Commercial Pastry Confection and Bakery – Certificate Program

ICPR Junior College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their Arecibo campus in the city of Arecibo. The college has about 426 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees are around $6,540 annually. Study materials can cost around $2,038, depending on the program chosen.

Guayama, PR Area

Colegio Mayor de Tecnologia Inc

151, Morse Street, Arroyo, Puerto Rico 00714-0270
(787) 839-5266 x201
Cooking and Pastry – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Cooking and Pastry at Colegio Mayor de Tecnologia Inc is based at their campus in Arroyo in Arroyo County, Puerto Rico. The college has about 140 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. Tuition fees are likely to be around $12,829 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $900, although this will vary with the program.

Mayagüez, PR Area

ICPR Junior College-Mayaguez

80 West McKinley St, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 00681-1108
(787) 832-6000 x229
Commercial Pastry Confection and Bakery – Certificate Program

ICPR Junior College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their Mayaguez campus in the city of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The college has roughly 434 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 are broadly about $6,540 for each academic year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $2,038, although this will vary with the program.

Ponce, PR Area

Academia Serrant Inc

Concordia 8180 Esq Aurora, Ponce, Puerto Rico 00717-1568
(787) 259-4900
Repostería y Panadería – Certificate Program

Academia Serrant Inc offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. Most of the school’s 513 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is over 80%. The cost of tuition is in the order of $6,695 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $888, although this will vary with the program.

Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Ponce

104 Turpeaux Industrial Park Rd1, Mercedita, Puerto Rico 00715-1602
(787) 284-1912
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Inter American University of Puerto Rico can be taken at their Ponce campus in Mercedita in Ponce County, PR. This is a full, 4-year private college with 5,497 students, of which 0% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $5,084 yearly. Study materials can cost about $845, depending on the program chosen.

Ponce Paramedical College Inc

1213 Acacia Street Villa Flores Urb, Ponce, Puerto Rico 00716-2901
(787) 848-1589
Chef Pasteur / Pastry Chef – Certificate Program

Ponce Paramedical College Inc offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Ponce, PR. This private, for-profit college has round 2,326 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Tuition fees are around $13,985 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $1,419, although this will depend on the program.

San Juan-Carolina-Caguas, PR Area

Escuela Hotelera de San Juan

229 Guayama St, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00917
(787) 759-7599 x205
Bakery and Pastry – Certificate Program

Escuela Hotelera de San Juan offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. The college has round 988 students in total, with the majority of students on programs that last under 2 years. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. The retention rate of full-time students at this college is 84%. Fees for tuition are about $12,739 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $800, although this varies from program to program.

Huertas College

#41 Hector R Bunker St, Caguas, Puerto Rico 00725
(787) 746-1400 x1022
Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Huertas College’s Associate program in Culinary Arts is taught at their campus in the city of Caguas, PR. The majority of of the school’s 1,278 students are on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $6,635 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $832, although this will vary with the program.

ICPR Junior College-General Institutional

558 Munoz Rivera Avenue, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00919-0304
(787) 753-6000
Commercial Pastry Confection and Bakery – Certificate Program

ICPR Junior College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are offered at their General Institutional campus in the city of Hato Rey. This private, for-profit college has roughly 633 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Tuition fees are generally around $6,540 yearly. Books and supplies can cost about $2,038, although this will depend on the program.

ICPR Junior College-Manati

Carretera #2 K.M. 49.9 Puerta del Norte Mall 4to. Piso Suite 17, Manatí, Puerto Rico 00674
(787) 884-6000
Commercial Pastry Confection and Bakery – Certificate Program

ICPR Junior College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. Classes are taken at their Manati campus in Manatí in Manati County. The majority of of the school’s 488 students are 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 $6,540 annually. Study materials can cost in the order of $2,038, depending on the program chosen.

Instituto de Banca y Comercio Inc

56 Carretera 20 Km 2.3, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico 00966-2309
(787) 982-3000 x1059
Bakery and International Bakery – Certificate Program, Local and International Cuisine – Associate Program

Instituto de Banca y Comercio Inc offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the city of Guaynabo. Most of the school’s 13,719 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Fees for tuition are about $9,995 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $600, depending on the program.

Instituto de Educacion Tecnica Ocupacional La Reine-Manati

Avenida Colon A 8, Manati, Puerto Rico 00674-0000
(787) 854-1119
Chef – Certificate Program

The Certificate program in Chef at Instituto de Educacion Tecnica Ocupacional La Reine is based at their Manati campus in Manati in Manati County, Puerto Rico. The college has in the order of 309 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 around $7,980 per year. Study materials can cost in the order of $300, depending on the program chosen.

Inter American University of Puerto Rico-Barranquitas

Bo Helechal Highway 156 Intersection 719, Barranquitas, Puerto Rico 00794-0517
(787) 857-3600 x2011
Repostería y Panadería Comercial – Certificate Program

Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s Certificate program in Repostería y Panadería Comercial is based at their Barranquitas campus in Barranquitas in Barranquitas County, PR. This is a full, 4-year private college with 2,067 students, of which 0% are undergraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Fees for tuition are about $5,764 per year, while study materials may cost in the order of $845, depending on the program.

IVAEM College

14 Calle Intendente Ramirez, Caguas, Puerto Rico 00725-0000
(787) 743-5327 x23
Commercial and International Cuisine – Certificate Program

IVAEM College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Caguas, PR. The majority of of the school’s 145 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Fees for tuition are usually about $9,648 for each academic year. Study materials can cost roughly $270, depending on the program chosen.

Universidad del Este

Carr. # 190 Esq. Calle 220 Bo. Sabana Abajo, Carolina, Puerto Rico 00985-0985
(787) 257-7373
Culinary Arts – Associate Program, Culinary Management – Certificate Program

Universidad del Este offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Carolina, PR. This is a full, 4-year private college with 13,058 students, of which 0% are undergraduates. The Universidad del Este has institutional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The cost of tuition is in the order of $5,820 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,700, although this varies from program to 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.