How to Become a Chef in Rhode Island

Careers in the culinary arts include everything from cooks to executive chefs. Each comes with a varying level of responsibility. Most people start out as cooks and prepare ingredients, cook meals and clean the kitchen. People looking for a new challenge often progress to the level of chef, which means they oversee a kitchen’s daily operations and prepare menus. [En Español]

Find Schools in Rhode Island

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Rhode Island

Rhode Island does not have any statewide requirements for people who would like to become chefs. However, having a high school diploma or GED, previous cooking experience and American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification can provide people with a competitive advantage when applying to jobs.

Rhode Island Schools for Chefs

Rhode Island has several culinary schools for aspiring chefs who would like to undergo formal training. Here are two popular options for students:

  • Johnson and Wales University. Johnson and Wales’ highly respected culinary program consists of standard, accelerated and weekend associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in the culinary arts. They include baking and pastry, culinary arts, nutrition, product development and entrepreneurship.
  • Community College of Rhode Island. This institution offers a certificate in culinary arts. Students will learn about food sanitation, the fundamentals of restaurant operation and basic food production standards.

Certifications for Becoming a Chef in Rhode Island

Cooks who are interested in becoming chefs someday or otherwise improve their culinary knowledge can become ACF certified. The organization offers nine levels of certification, from Certified Fundamentals Cook to Certified Master Chef, with each level requiring additional education and job experience to be successfully obtained. These certifications are not required but can be helpful in both increasing skills and competing for jobs.

In some instances, chefs and cooks may be required to attend a ServSafe course or similar training if their employers or local regulations deem it necessary.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), chefs and head cooks’ jobs on a nationwide scale are likely to grow by 9.6 percent between 2016 and 2026. During the same time period, cooks’ jobs are expected to increase by 4.2 percent. In Rhode Island, the BLS predicts job growth of 10.8 percent for chefs and head cooks and 3.8 percent for other cooks.

Rhode Island’s chefs and head cooks earn an average of $59,310 per year, while cooks earn an annual average of $29,460.

Working as a Chef in Rhode Island

There are plenty of options available to chefs and cooks in Rhode Island. They can find jobs in schools and other institutions, bakeries, cafes, restaurants, resorts and hotels. More jobs will likely be available in larger cities, such as Providence and Warwick, and these jobs typically come with the highest salaries.

Successful chefs pay close attention to detail and multitask well while under pressure. Kitchens are typically fast-paced workplaces, with frequent collaboration among coworkers and the opportunity to work in a creative field.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

Providence-Fall River-Warwick, RI-MA Area

Community College of Rhode Island

400 East Ave, Warwick, Rhode Island 02886-1807
(401) 825-1000
Culinary Arts Assistant – Certificate Program

The Culinary Arts Assistant Certificate program in Culinary Arts Assistant at Community College of Rhode Island is taught at their campus in the city of Warwick. Most of the school’s 16,195 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. Fees for tuition for in-state students are likely to be in the order of $4,266 and for students from outside the state likely to be about $11,496 yearly. Learning materials may cost about $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Johnson & Wales University-Providence

8 Abbott Park Place, Providence, Rhode Island 02903-3703
(401) 598-1000
Baking & Pastry Arts – Associate Program, Baking & Pastry Arts – Bachelor Program

Johnson & Wales University offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Bachelor program. Classes are taken at their Providence campus in the city of Providence. Of the 9,454 students, about 7% are postgraduates. The university is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The cost of tuition is likely to be in the order of $30,746 per year. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,500, 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 ( Confirm with college before applying.

Neighbor States

Residents of Rhode Island may also wish to review their options in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.