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2021 Best Culinary Arts Schools

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

Finding the Best Culinary Arts School for You

In 2018-2019, 26,675 people earned a degree or certificate in culinary arts, making the major the #51 most popular in the United States.

When it comes to higher education, there are a lot of options for students. 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.

To help you arm yourself with the information you need to make your decision, Course Advisor has developed this Best Culinary Arts Schools ranking. Our analysis looked at 156 schools in the United States to see which programs offered the best educational experiences for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best Culinary Arts Schools in the United States

Check out the culinary arts programs at these schools if you want to get the best education that money can buy.

Top 15% Best Culinary Arts Schools

Our 2021 rankings named The International Culinary Center the best school in the United States for culinary arts students. The International Culinary Center is a small private for-profit school located in the city of New York.

After completing their degree, culinary arts graduates from The International Culinary Center carry an average student debtload of $6,333. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $66.

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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. Located in the suburb of Campbell, The French Culinary Institute is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

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Out of the 156 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Culinary Institute of America landed the # 3 spot on the list. Located in the large suburb of Hyde Park, The Culinary Institute of America is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

The average amount in student loans that culinary arts majors at The Culinary Institute of America take out is $12,240. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $128.

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A rank of #4 on this year’s list means San Diego Culinary Institute is a great place for culinary arts students. Located in the suburb of La Mesa, San Diego Culinary Institute is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

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#5

Arizona Culinary Institute

Scottsdale, AZ

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Arizona Culinary Institute. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best Culinary Arts Schools list. Located in the city of Scottsdale, Arizona Culinary Institute is a private for-profit school with a small student population.

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Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Boulder came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Schools ranking. AESCA - Boulder is a small private for-profit school located in the city of Boulder.

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#7

Boston University

Boston, MA

Boston University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #7 on the list. Located in the city of Boston, Boston U is a private not-for-profit college with a very large student population.

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#8

Johnson County Community College

Overland Park, KS

Johnson County Community College ranked #8 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Schools list. JCCC is a large public school located in the city of Overland Park.

On average, culinary arts graduates from JCCC take out $12,347 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $128.

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Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts-Austin landed the #9 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best culinary arts programs. Escoffier - Austin is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the large city of Austin.

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With a ranking of #10, Lincoln Technical Institute-Shelton did quite well on this year’s best schools for culinary arts students. Lincoln Culinary Institute is a fairly small private for-profit school located in the large suburb of Shelton.

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Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte ranked #11 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Schools list. JWU Charlotte is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Charlotte.

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With a ranking of #12, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College did quite well on this year’s best schools for culinary arts students. Located in the rural area of Fennimore, Southwest Tech is a public college with a small student population.

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#13

Kirkwood Community College

Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #13 on the list. Kirkwood Community College is a large public school located in the midsize city of Cedar Rapids.

Culinary Arts majors at Kirkwood Community College take out an average of $16,302 in student loans while working on their egree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $169.

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With a ranking of #14, Johnson & Wales University - Denver did quite well on this year’s best schools for culinary arts students. JWU Denver is a small private not-for-profit school located in the large city of Denver.

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University of Hawaii Maui College came in at #15 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Schools ranking. UH Maui College is a small public school located in the city of Kahului.

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Gateway Technical College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for culinary arts students. It came in at #16 on the list. Gateway Technical College is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Kenosha.

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Johnson & Wales University - Providence ranked #17 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Schools list. Located in the medium-sized city of Providence, JWU Providence is a private not-for-profit school with a medium-sized student population.

The average amount in student loans that culinary arts majors at JWU Providence take out is $13,000. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $135, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Johnson & Wales University - North Miami ranked #18 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Schools list. Located in the suburb of North Miami, JWU North Miami is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

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With a ranking of #19, The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College did quite well on this year’s best schools for culinary arts students. The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College is a small private for-profit school located in the city of Philadelphia.

On average, culinary arts graduates from The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College take out $19,500 in student loans while working on their degree. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $202.

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Fox Valley Technical College landed the #20 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best culinary arts programs. Located in the midsize suburb of Appleton, FVTC is a public college with a large student population.

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Southeast Community College Area ranked #21 on this year’s Best Culinary Arts Schools list. Southeast Community College is a moderately-sized public school located in the city of Lincoln.

On average, culinary arts graduates from Southeast Community College take out $12,950 in student loans while working on their degree. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $134, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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Chippewa Valley Technical College came in at #22 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Schools ranking. CVTC is a moderately-sized public school located in the small city of Eau Claire.

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#23

Pioneer Pacific College

Wilsonville, OR

Pioneer Pacific College came in at #23 in this year’s edition of the Best Culinary Arts Schools ranking. Located in the city of Wilsonville, Pioneer Pacific College is a private for-profit college with a fairly small student population.

Culinary Arts majors at Pioneer Pacific College take out an average of $14,592 in student loans while working on their egree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $152.

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Additional Noteworthy Schools

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

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

Culinary Arts by Region

View the Best 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 area of study, culinary arts has other similar majors worth exploring.

Majors Similar to Culinary Arts

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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