How to Become a Chef Texas

Texans who are looking for an exciting career with abundant job opportunities should consider the culinary arts field. Chefs, cooks and food service administrators are all important parts of the foodservice industry. While administrators run entire restaurants and establishments, chefs are often in charge of cooks in the kitchen, orchestrating the preparation of gourmet meals. In any case, the demand for all of these culinary arts jobs will be increasing substantially in Texas over the next decade. It may be a good time to break into the field for anyone who has been hesitant to take the first step. [En Español]

Requirements for Becoming a Chef in Texas

To become a culinary artist, you must first love food and be able to work with your hands. Other important qualities of cooks and chefs include the ability to withstand pressure in the workplace and a strong desire to create something worthwhile on a team. As cooks and chefs advance in their careers, certifications will probably become a requirement to help them secure promotions amid competition.

Culinary Arts Training and Educational Programs in Texas

Because food service employment rates are rising, Texas has no shortage of quality culinary arts education programs, such as:

  • Austin Community College (ACC). Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF), this school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts degree and a Culinary Arts Certificate that can be completed within three semesters.
  • Culinary Institute Lenotre. Based in Houston, this well-respected Texas culinary institute is accredited by The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC). Both an associate’s degree and diploma in culinary arts are available. The diploma option includes 10-week practicum opportunity for students.

Certification for Becoming a Chef in Texas

The ACF was founded in 1929 in New York and has the goal of fostering the growth of cooks and chefs in the foodservice industry. From educational resources to scholarship opportunities, this organization represents the gold standard of culinary arts certification. Cooks and chefs who earn one or more of the 16 available ACF certifications gain respect in their field. Personal chefs and food service administrators can also gain certification from the ACF to help them further their careers.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Chefs and Culinary Artists in Texas

Texas employs a huge number of restaurant cooks and food preparation workers, which together make up more than 160,000 of the culinary artists employed throughout the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most cooks and food workers in Texas made mean incomes of about $11 to $12 per hour in 2017.

By 2026, employment rates of restaurant cooks are expected to increase by 29.7 percent, while the number of food preparation workers is also expected to grow extremely quickly, at the rate of 22.5 percent.

Working as a Chef in Texas

Restaurant cooks are in high demand throughout the state, but the highest paid are in Midland Texas and Dallas. For Texans who want to become head cooks or chefs, the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston employ the most of these workers. Chefs are generally paid the highest in the Northern Texas nonmetropolitan and Dallas-Fort Worth areas. Regardless of location, Texans who are passionate about starting a career in the culinary arts can begin a path to their dream job by seeking entry-level cook jobs and mapping out an education and certification plan.

Popular Colleges

College Programs

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Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX Area

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Austin

6020-B Dillard Circle, Austin, Texas 78752
(512) 451-5743
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program

Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are imparted at their Austin campus in the city of Austin. The majority of of the school’s 304 students are on diploma programs of under two years. The college is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. Tuition fees are around $29,250 for each academic year, while books and supplies may cost roughly $1,150, although this varies from program to program.

Austin Community College District

5930 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, Texas 78752
(512) 223-7000
Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Austin Community College District offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of Austin, Texas. The majority of of the school’s 41,574 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $2,550 and are $10,890 and $13,080 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,200, depending on the program chosen.

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Austin

3110 Esperanza Crossing, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78758
(888) 553-2433
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 Austin campus in the city of Austin. This private, for-profit college has approximately 604 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. The cost of tuition is broadly in the order of $13,540 for each academic year.

The Art Institute of Austin

101 W. Louis Henna Blvd, Suite 100, Austin, Texas 78728
(512) 691-1707
Baking & Pastry – Associate Program, Hospitality Food & Beverage Management – Certificate Program

The Art Institute of Austin offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Austin, Texas. This private, for-profit college has round 1,044 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The cost of tuition is, as a rough guide, in the order of $17,664 yearly, while books and supplies may cost about $1,500, although this varies from program to program.

Corpus Christi, TX Area

Del Mar College

101 Baldwin Blvd., Corpus Christi, Texas 78404-3897
(361) 698-1255
Baking and Pastry Specialization – Associate Program, Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Del Mar College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the city of Corpus Christi. The majority of of the school’s 10,852 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $2,546 and are $3,846 and $4,808 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,215, although this will vary with the program.

Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX Metropolitan Division Area

Collin County Community College District

3452 Spur 399, McKinney, Texas 75069
(972) 881-5790
Advanced Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Pastry Arts – Associate Program

Collin County Community College District offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in McKinney in Collin County, TX. The college has in the order of 28,187 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are usually about $1,264 and are $2,494 and $4,294 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,500, depending on the program chosen.

El Centro College

801 Main Street, Dallas, Texas 75202-3604
(214) 860-2037
Bakery/Pastry Foundations – Certificate Program, Bakery/Pastry – Associate Program

El Centro College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Dallas. The majority of of the school’s 9,002 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $1,770 and are $3,330 and $5,220 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost about $2,000, although this will depend on the program.

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Dallas

11830 Webb Chapel Road, Dallas, Texas 75234
(214) 647-8500
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. All programs are based at their Dallas campus in the city of Dallas. This private, for-profit college has in the region of 848 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. Fees for tuition are about $13,596 annually.

South University-The Art Institute of Dallas

8080 Park Lane, Suite 100, Dallas, Texas 75231-5993
(214) 692-8080
Baking & Pastry – Associate Program, Baking & Pastry – Certificate Program

South University-The Art Institute of Dallas offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Dallas, Texas. Of the 935 students, about 1% are postgraduates. The university is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition are about $17,664 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,500, depending on the program.

Eastern Texas nonmetropolitan area Area

Northeast Texas Community College

2886 FM 1735, Mount Pleasant, Texas 75455
(903) 434-8100
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Northeast Texas Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Mount Pleasant in Titus County. This public college has in the order of 2,989 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is usually in the order of $2,682 and are $4,542 and $5,990 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $1,275, although this will vary with the program.

El Paso, TX Area

El Paso Community College

9050 Viscount Blvd, El Paso, Texas 79925
(915) 831-2000
Pastry – Certificate Program, Pastry – Associate Program

El Paso Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of El Paso. The college has roughly 28,764 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-state students is around $2,746 and for out-of-state students in the order of $4,522 per year. Learning materials may cost about $1,049, although this will vary with the program.

Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metropolitan Division Area

Tarrant County College District

1500 Houston St, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-6524
(817) 515-8223
Baking and Pastry – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Tarrant County College District offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Fort Worth, Texas. The college has in the region of 51,688 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is generally in the order of $1,416 and are $2,544 and $6,120 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost around $1,561, although this varies from program to program.

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX Area

Alvin Community College

3110 Mustang Rd, Alvin, Texas 77511-4898
(281) 756-3500
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Alvin Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Alvin in Brazoria County, TX. This public college has round 5,114 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are generally around $1,562 and are $2,642 and $3,842 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $1,778, although this will depend on the program.

Culinary Institute Inc

7070 Allensby, Houston, Texas 77022-4322
(713) 692-0077
Baking & Pasty Arts – Certificate Program, Baking & Pasty Arts – Associate Program

Culinary Institute Inc offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Houston, TX. Most of the school’s 421 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Fees for tuition are about $15,938 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $2,800, depending on the program.

Galveston College

4015 Ave Q, Galveston, Texas 77550-7496
(409) 944-1220
Culinary Arts Advanced Level – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Galveston College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are taught at their campus in the town of Galveston. The college has round 2,071 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $2,050 and are $2,650 and $4,600 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $910, although this varies from program to program.

Houston Community College

3100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002
(877) 422-6111
Baker – Certificate Program

Houston Community College offers various Certificate program options for chefs. All programs are taught at their campus in the city of Houston. This public college has about 56,522 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $1,632 and are $3,360 and $3,756 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $3,000, depending on the program.

Lee College

511 S Whiting, Baytown, Texas 77520
(281) 427-5611
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Advanced Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Lee College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Baytown. Most of the school’s 6,202 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are roughly around $1,672 and are $2,488 and $3,520 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,500, depending on the program.

San Jacinto Community College

8060 Spencer Hwy, Pasadena, Texas 77505
(281) 998-6150
Pastry Chef – Certificate Program, Pastry Chef – Associate Program

San Jacinto Community College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Pasadena in Harris County. Most of the school’s 28,326 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are generally around $1,500 and are $2,580 and $4,140 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost around $1,550, although this varies from program to program.

The Art Institute of Houston

River Oaks Plaza, 4140 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77027-9625
(713) 623-2040
Baking & Pastry – Associate Program, Hospitality Food & Beverage Management – Certificate Program

The Art Institute of Houston offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Houston. The college has roughly 1,642 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition is generally in the order of $17,664 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,500, although this will depend on the program.

Laredo, TX Area

Laredo Community College

West End Washington St, Laredo, Texas 78040-4395
(956) 721-5140
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

Laredo Community College’s Certificate program is offered at their campus in the city of Laredo. The majority of of the school’s 8,749 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $3,780 and are $4,980 and $6,228 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,800, although this varies from program to program.

Longview, TX Area

Kilgore College

1100 Broadway, Kilgore, Texas 75662-3299
(903) 984-8531
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Kilgore College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are based at their campus in the town of Kilgore. This public college has in the region of 5,666 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are generally around $1,632 and are $3,360 and $4,560 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Books and supplies can cost around $2,496, although this will depend on the program.

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX Area

South Texas College

3201 W Pecan, McAllen, Texas 78502-9701
(956) 872-8311
Baking and Pastry Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

South Texas College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program, an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in the city of McAllen. This public college has approximately 34,371 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $3,606 and are $3,890 and $4,560 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost about $1,200, although this will vary with the program.

Northwestern Texas nonmetropolitan area Area

Vernon College

4400 College Dr., Vernon, Texas 76384-4092
(940) 552-6291
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program

The Culinary Arts Certificate program in Culinary Arts at Vernon College is taught at their campus in Vernon in Wilbarger County. The majority of of the school’s 2,891 students are on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $3,150 and are $4,500 and $6,450 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,600, depending on the program.

Odessa, TX Area

Odessa College

201 W University Blvd, Odessa, Texas 79764
(432) 335-6400
Food Production Cook – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Odessa College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are offered at their campus in the city of Odessa. This public college has in the region of 5,473 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are usually about $2,808 and are $3,864 and $5,232 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Study materials can cost in the order of $1,284, depending on the program chosen.

San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX Area

St Philip’s College

1801 Martin Luther King Dr, San Antonio, Texas 78203-2098
(210) 486-2000
Baking and Pastry Arts – Associate Program, Culinary Studies Level 1 – Certificate Program

St Philip’s College offers multiple training options, including an Associate program, a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of San Antonio, Texas. The majority of of the school’s 11,198 students are on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Tuition fees for in-district students are usually around $2,188 and are $5,824 and $11,274 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $2,078, although this will vary with the program.

The Art Institute of San Antonio

10000 IH-10 W Ste 200, San Antonio, Texas 78230
(210) 338-7320
Baking & Pastry – Associate Program, Hospitality Food & Beverage Management – Certificate Program

The Art Institute of San Antonio offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of San Antonio. The college has in the region of 1,062 students in total, with the majority of students on 4-year programs. Tuition fees are around $17,664 annually. Study materials can cost roughly $1,500, depending on the program.

Sherman-Denison, TX Area

Grayson College

6101 Grayson Drive, Denison, Texas 75020-8299
(903) 465-6030
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Hospitality Management – Associate Program

Grayson College offers various Certificate program options for chefs, a Certificate program and an Associate program. All programs are imparted at their campus in Denison in Grayson County. The college has about 4,591 students in total, with most students on 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are roughly about $1,956 and are $2,868 and $3,972 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while study materials may cost roughly $1,480, depending on the program.

Texarkana-Texarkana, TX-AR Area

Texarkana College

2500 N Robison Rd, Texarkana, Texas 75599
(903) 823-3456
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Texarkana College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in the city of Texarkana. The college has about 4,165 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. The cost of tuition for in-district students is likely to be in the order of $2,116 and are $3,388 and $4,588 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively, while books and supplies may cost about $1,521, although this varies from program to program.

Waco, TX Area

Texas State Technical College

3801 Campus Drive, Waco, Texas 76705
(800) 792-8784
Culinary Arts – Certificate Program, Culinary Arts – Associate Program

Texas State Technical College offers multiple training options, including a Certificate program and an Associate program. Classes are taken at their campus in Waco in Mclennan County. The majority of of the school’s 11,316 students are on 2-year programs. The cost of tuition for students living in the state is around $4,665 and for out-of-state students approximately $10,080 annually. Books and supplies can cost around $1,175, although this will depend 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 New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.