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2021 Best Value Culinary Arts Schools

Highlighting Quality Schools With More Affordable Pricing

155 Colleges
$5,931 Avg Tuition & Fees*
$23,822 Avg Salary

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.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Trade College Search has developed this Best Value Culinary Arts Schools ranking. Our analysis looked at 155 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best value experiences for culinary arts students with the aim of identifying those quality schools that are more affordable than some of their counterparts.

Our ranking of value is based on the quality of a program as defined in our per sticker price dollar. Specifically, our score for quality is discounted by the published tuition and fees charged by the given college. This gives the cost per unit of quality for each college. The more quality your dollar buys, the better the value.

In our regional and nationwide rankings, out-of-state tution and fees are used in our calculations. For statewide rankings, we use average in-state tuition and fees.

2021 Best Value Culinary Arts Schools in the United States

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

Top 15% Best Culinary Arts Schools

Our 2021 rankings named Southeast Community College Area the best value school in the United States for culinary arts students. Located in the large city of Lincoln, Southeast Community College is a public college with a medium-sized student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Southeast Community College are $3,096 a year.

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#2

Johnson County Community College

Overland Park, KS

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Johnson County Community College. The school came in at #2 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. Located in the midsize city of Overland Park, JCCC is a public school with a large student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at JCCC are $6,690 per year.

JCCC excels when it comes to quality. It’s ranked in the top 20% of all schools on our Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools list.

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You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Southwest Wisconsin Technical College. The school came in at #3 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. Southwest Tech is a small public school located in the rural area of Fennimore.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Southwest Tech are $6,481 per year.

In addition to its great value ranking, Southwest Tech is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools list.

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$6,575 Average Tuition & Fees

The excellent programs at Gateway Technical College helped the school earn the #4 place on this year’s ranking of the best culinary arts schools in the United States. Located in the suburb of Kenosha, Gateway Technical College is a public college with a large student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Gateway Technical College are $6,575 per year.

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#5

Kirkwood Community College

Cedar Rapids, IA
$6,970 Average Tuition & Fees

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around you if you attend Kirkwood Community College. The school came in at #5 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. Located in the city of Cedar Rapids, Kirkwood Community College is a public college with a large student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Kirkwood Community College are $6,970 per year.

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#6

South Plains College

Levelland, TX
$4,088 Average Tuition & Fees

South Plains College came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Culinary Arts Schools ranking. Located in the distant town of Levelland, South Plains College is a public school with a moderately-sized student population.

South Plains College undergraduate students pay an average of $4,088 in tuition and fees each year.

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$5,740 Average Tuition & Fees

With a ranking of #7, Clover Park Technical College did quite well on this year’s best value schools for culinary arts students. Located in the city of Lakewood, CPTC is a public college with a small student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at CPTC are $5,740 a year.

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Chippewa Valley Technical College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best value schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #8 on the list. Located in the small city of Eau Claire, CVTC is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at CVTC are $6,481 per year.

In addition to its great value ranking, CVTC is in the top 10% of all schools on our Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools list.

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Fox Valley Technical College ranked #9 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. FVTC is a large public school located in the midsize suburb of Appleton.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at FVTC are $6,688 a year.

As a testament to the quality of education it offers, FVTC also is in the top 10% of our Best Culinary Arts Trade Schools ranking.

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#10

Saint Paul College

Saint Paul, MN
$5,736 Average Tuition & Fees

Saint Paul College ranked #10 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. Saint Paul College is a medium-sized public school located in the large city of Saint Paul.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Saint Paul College are $5,736 a year.

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$5,040 Average Tuition & Fees

San Jacinto Community College landed the #11 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value culinary arts programs. Located in the suburb of Pasadena, San Jacinto College is a public college with a very large student population.

San Jacinto College undergraduate students pay an average of $5,040 in tuition and fees each year.

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#12

Hennepin Technical College

Brooklyn Park, MN
$5,248 Average Tuition & Fees

Hennepin Technical College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best value schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #12 on the list. Hennepin Technical College is a small public school located in the large suburb of Brooklyn Park.

Hennepin Technical College undergraduate students pay an average of $5,248 in tuition and fees each year.

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#13

Savannah Technical College

Savannah, GA
$5,422 Average Tuition & Fees

Savannah Technical College ranked #13 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. Located in the medium-sized city of Savannah, Savannah Tech is a public school with a small student population.

Savannah Tech undergraduate students pay an average of $5,422 in tuition and fees each year.

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$4,545 Average Tuition & Fees

Metropolitan Community College ranked #14 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. Located in the city of Omaha, MCC is a public college with a fairly large student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at MCC are $4,545 a year.

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$6,510 Average Tuition & Fees

Kansas City Kansas Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best value schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #15 on the list. Located in the medium-sized city of Kansas City, Kansas City Kansas Community College is a public school with a moderately-sized student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at Kansas City Kansas Community College are $6,510 per year.

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$5,484 Average Tuition & Fees

Atlanta Technical College landed the #16 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value culinary arts programs. Atlanta Area Tech is a small public school located in the city of Atlanta.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Atlanta Area Tech are $5,484 a year.

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$8,414 Average Tuition & Fees

With a ranking of #17, University of Hawaii Maui College did quite well on this year’s best value schools for culinary arts students. Located in the city of Kahului, UH Maui College is a public college with a small student population.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at UH Maui College are $8,414 per year.

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#18

Central Georgia Technical College

Warner Robins, GA
$5,442 Average Tuition & Fees

Central Georgia Technical College ranked #18 on this year’s Best Value Culinary Arts Schools list. CGTC is a medium-sized public school located in the city of Warner Robins.

Out-of-state tuition fees for undergraduate students at CGTC are $5,442 per year.

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#19

Columbus Technical College

Columbus, GA
$5,442 Average Tuition & Fees

With a ranking of #19, Columbus Technical College did quite well on this year’s best value schools for culinary arts students. Columbus Technical College is a small public school located in the midsize city of Columbus.

Columbus Technical College undergraduate students pay an average of $5,442 in tuition and fees each year.

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#20

Southern Maine Community College

South Portland, ME
$6,604 Average Tuition & Fees

Southern Maine Community College came in at #20 in this year’s edition of the Best Value Culinary Arts Schools ranking. Located in the small city of South Portland, SMCC is a public college with a moderately-sized student population.

SMCC undergraduate students pay an average of $6,604 in tuition and fees each year.

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#21

Saint Louis Community College

Saint Louis, MO
$6,645 Average Tuition & Fees

Saint Louis Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best value schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #21 on the list. Located in the suburb of Saint Louis, Saint Louis Community College is a public school with a fairly large student population.

The average tuition and fees for an out-of-state undergraduate student at Saint Louis Community College are $6,645 a year.

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$5,452 Average Tuition & Fees

West Georgia Technical College landed the #22 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value culinary arts programs. West Georgia Technical College is a moderately-sized public school located in the rural area of Waco.

West Georgia Technical College undergraduate students pay an average of $5,452 in tuition and fees each year.

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#23

Del Mar College

Corpus Christi, TX
$5,441 Average Tuition & Fees

Del Mar College landed the #23 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best value culinary arts programs. DMC is a large public school located in the city of Corpus Christi.

DMC undergraduate students pay an average of $5,441 in tuition and fees each year.

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Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best Value Culinary Arts Schools award.

Rank College Location
24 Augusta Technical College Augusta, GA
24 Kapiolani Community College Honolulu, HI
26 Cincinnati State Technical and Community College Cincinnati, OH
27 Wiregrass Georgia Technical College Valdosta, GA
28 Gwinnett Technical College Lawrenceville, GA
29 Meridian Community College Meridian, MS
30 El Paso Community College El Paso, TX
31 Southern Crescent Technical College Griffin, GA

Culinary Arts by Region

View the Best Value Culinary Arts 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.

  • 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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