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2021 Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools

155 Colleges
$23,822 Avg Salary
$19,004 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best Culinary Arts School for You

In 2018-2019, 26,643 culinary arts students received their degrees and certificates, making the major the #9 most popular in the country.

Today's trade school students have lots of options to pick from when considering higher education opportunities. You can choose a traditional brick and mortar school, or with the growth of online education, you can attend a school half-way across the country without even leaving your house. Also there are many trade schools that offer short-term programs that open up more career options.

The Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools ranking is one of many tools that Trade College Search has developed to help you make your educational decision. This report analyzed 155 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for trade school students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Culinary Arts Schools in the United States

The colleges and universities below are the best for culinary arts majors pursuing a .

Top 15% Best Culinary Arts Schools

Our analysis found The International Culinary Center to be the best school for culinary arts students who want to pursue a degree in the United States. Located in the city of New York, The International Culinary Center is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

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The excellent programs at International Culinary Center-California helped the school earn the #2 place on this year’s ranking of the best culinary arts schools in the United States. The French Culinary Institute is a small private for-profit school located in the suburb of Campbell.

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A rank of #3 on this year’s list means Culinary Institute of America is a great place for culinary arts students. The Culinary Institute of America is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Hyde Park.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend San Diego Culinary Institute. The school came in at #4 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools list. San Diego Culinary Institute is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the large suburb of La Mesa.

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#5

Arizona Culinary Institute

Scottsdale, AZ

Out of the 155 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Arizona Culinary Institute landed the # 5 spot on the list. Arizona Culinary Institute is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the city of Scottsdale.

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Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Boulder landed the #6 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best culinary arts programs. Located in the city of Boulder, AESCA - Boulder is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

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#7

Johnson County Community College

Overland Park, KS

Johnson County Community College came in at #7 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools ranking. Located in the city of Overland Park, JCCC is a public college with a large student population.

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Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Austin did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #8 on the list. Located in the city of Austin, Escoffier - Austin is a private for-profit college with a small student population.

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Lincoln Technical Institute-Shelton ranked #9 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools list. Located in the suburb of Shelton, Lincoln Culinary Institute is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

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Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #10 on the list. Located in the large city of Charlotte, JWU Charlotte is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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Southwest Wisconsin Technical College came in at #11 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools ranking. Southwest Tech is a small public school located in the rural area of Fennimore.

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#12

Kirkwood Community College

Cedar Rapids, IA

With a ranking of #12, Kirkwood Community College did quite well on this year’s best schools for culinary arts students. Located in the medium-sized city of Cedar Rapids, Kirkwood Community College is a public school with a fairly large student population.

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Johnson & Wales University - Denver did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #13 on the list. Located in the city of Denver, JWU Denver is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

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University of Hawaii Maui College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #14 on the list. Located in the small city of Kahului, UH Maui College is a public college with a small student population.

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Gateway Technical College came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools ranking. Located in the midsize suburb of Kenosha, Gateway Technical College is a public school with a large student population.

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Johnson & Wales University - Providence landed the #16 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best culinary arts programs. JWU Providence is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the medium-sized city of Providence.

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Johnson & Wales University - North Miami did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #17 on the list. JWU North Miami is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of North Miami.

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The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College ranked #18 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools list. Located in the city of Philadelphia, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

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Fox Valley Technical College landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best culinary arts programs. FVTC is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Appleton.

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Southeast Community College Area came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools ranking. Located in the city of Lincoln, Southeast Community College is a public school with a moderately-sized student population.

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Chippewa Valley Technical College ranked #21 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools list. Located in the city of Eau Claire, CVTC is a public college with a medium-sized student population.

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#22

Pioneer Pacific College

Wilsonville, OR

Pioneer Pacific College landed the #22 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best culinary arts programs. Pioneer Pacific College is a small private for-profit school located in the city of Wilsonville.

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Southern New Hampshire University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #23 on the list. Located in the medium-sized suburb of Manchester, SNHU is a private not-for-profit school with a very large student population.

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Honorable Mentions

Here are some additional great schools for Culinary Arts students that almost earned our Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools award.

Rank College Location
24 Kapiolani Community College Honolulu, HI
25 Bradford School Columbus, OH
26 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati, OH
27 Sullivan University Louisville, KY
28 Clover Park Technical College Lakewood, WA
29 Paul Smiths College of Arts and Science Paul Smiths, NY
30 Kansas City Kansas Community College Kansas City, KS
31 Des Moines Area Community College Ankeny, IA

Culinary Arts by Region

View the Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 3 majors within the trade school area of study, culinary arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Culinary Arts Focus Areas

Major Annual Graduates
Culinary Arts/Chef Training 12,205
Baking & Pastry Arts/Baker/Pastry Chef 4,964
General Cooking & Related Culinary Arts 4,765
Restaurant, Culinary, & Catering Management/Manager 1,802
Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant 1,210
Other Culinary Arts & Related Services 734
Bartending/Bartender 289
Culinary Science/Culinology 225
Institutional Food Workers 193
Wine Steward/Sommelier 112
Food Service, Waiter/Waitress, & Dining Room Management/Manager 98
Meat Cutting/Meat Cutter 46

Related Major Annual Graduates
Cosmetology 103,674
Funeral & Mortuary Science 1,965
Other Personal & Culinary Services 320

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to U.S. Army Europe Images.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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