Educational Requirements for Becoming a Professional Chef

A professional chef is someone that prepares meals, cooks the food, and keeps an eye on others working in the kitchen. Many chefs will begin their work taking on an entry-level position within a kitchen and will slowly work their way up to being a chef with experience and training. But there are some that will complete post-secondary courses in culinary arts.

Education is not something that is strictly required in becoming a professional chef, but many people will combine experience that they receive working in a kitchen with some form of post-secondary training. There are several types of training available for those looking to better themselves as a professional chef.

Post-Secondary Training Programs

There are a number of training programs to choose from. Some people will choose to receive training by attending culinary certification programs that typically last just a few months, while others will choose to go to school for two or four years in order to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in culinary arts. The courses typically include hand’s on and in class training which breaks down into sanitation, safety, techniques for cooking and baking, nutrition, and food preparation.

Programs for Apprenticeship

A potential chef could become an apprentice through a formal program in order to obtain the knowledge they need to become a professional chef. These programs often include education in a classroom type setting along with hands on training time in the kitchen.


Certification is not required to become a professional chef, but some will work to increase their earning potential by completing certification courses. After certification has been received, it needs to be renewed every five years in order to remain certified. This will be done by completing an additional 80 hours of continued education.