Selecting a Culinary College in Arkansas

Picking a program

When considering the options for your culinary education, be sure to look for some key components. A quality training kitchen is crucial, and it should be well-stocked, fully-equipped and run by the students. Quality culinary programs will often use the kitchen in conjunction with a student-run restaurant or dinner nights for the public. Instructors should be experienced, or the courses should be taught by chefs or other industry professionals. Finally, be sure that the school has career-support services, including job placement and counseling. Internships and apprenticeships should also be possibilities, as they will be critical to starting your on-the-job training.

Admissions to most programs are open, and students are only required to have a high-school diploma or GED. Some programs may be more selective, and in those cases, you may be asked to take an assessment of recipe techniques and basic kitchen knowledge. Any work experience or other training you may have, such as attendance at workshops or conferences, can also help your application.

Little Rock, AR Skyline.

Getting your degree

Most culinary programs can be completed in about two years or less, leading to an associate’s degree. Programs specializing in hospitality or restaurant management can lead to either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, for up to four years of study. There are options for fast-tracking your degree. Some programs offer certificates or diplomas that can be completed in just over a year or less, and night classes, summer sessions and online programs are available at some schools. Online programs are more common for management-oriented culinary professionals, but options are available for chefs-in-training. Video instruction is available in some cases to teach kitchen techniques in the comfort of your own home. In other cases, online courses are intended to compliment kitchen training attained either through work experience or in the lab.

Career expectations

The National Restaurant Association predicts a significant rise in industry jobs by 2019, about 18 percent. That should open up a lot of opportunities for recent graduates. Typical food industry salaries in Arkansas range according to position, city, and experience. A waiter/waitress will earn an annual average salary of $20,960; a Registered Dietitian earns $59,450; a first-line supervisor will earn about $30,210; a head chef will earn approximately $48,030; and a restaurant cook earns an average salary of around $23,590.

2019 wage data sourced from the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook. Current wage conditions in your area may vary.

Networking is beneficial to finding the best jobs in any field. Joining professional organizations such as the Arkansas Hospitality Association will allow you to meet industry professionals and gain access to conferences and other events. At the local level, attending food and wine festivals will give you the same opportunities to meet industry professionals, as well as local celebrity chefs. While you’re there, you can also enter cooking and baking competitions to show off your skills. It may land you your next job.

Campus-based programs

Arkansas Tech University
1311 N. El Paso Ave.
Russellville, AR 72801-8815
Hospitality Administration
HLC accredited

Ozarka College
218 College Drive
Melbourne, AR 72556
Culinary Arts
HLC accredited

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
1 University of Arkansas
Fayetteville, AR 72701
Food Science
HLC accredited

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
1200 University Drive
Pine Bluff, AR 71601-2799
Food Service/Restaurant Management
HLC accredited

Arkansas Career Training Institute
105 Reserve Ave.
Hot Springs, AR 71901-419
Culinary Arts
Patisserie and Baking
Hospitality and Restaurant Management
ACCS accredited

Online-based programs

American Culinary Federation
The ACF has over 200 chapters in the United States; its main campus is located in Florida
180 Center Place Way
St. Augustine, FL
Continuing Education
Chef Certification
Chef Educators
Food Safety Certification
ACFEFAC Accredited

The Art Institutes of Pittsburgh – Online Division
The Ai has over 40 campus locations across North America, plus this online campus
420 Blvd of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA
Hotel and Restaurant Management
Culinary Management
MSCHE Accredited

Ashworth College
430 Technology Pkwy
Norcross, GA
Professional Gourmet Cooking and Catering
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC Accredited

DeVry University
This University has 90 campus locations in 26 different states
One Tower Lane
Oakbrook Terrace, IL
Hospitality Management
HLC Accredited

eCornell is an online program and subsidiary of Cornell University, located in New York
950 Danby Road, Suite 150
Ithaca, NY
Leadership and Strategic Management
Project Leadership and Systems Design
Financial Management
Management Essentials
Human Resources Management
Hospitality and Foodservice Management
Certificate in plant-based nutrition
HRCI and PMI Approved

Johnson and Wales University
JWU has campuses in Providence, Charlotte, and North Miami; its largest campus is in Rhode Island
8 Abbott Park Place, Providence, RI 02903
Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
Culinary Arts and Food Service Management
NEASC Accredited

New England Culinary Institute
NECI has two campuses in Vermont; its main campus is in Montpelier
56 College Street
Montpelier, VT 05602
Hospitality and Restaurant Management
ACCSC Accredited

Penn Foster Career School
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC & CHEA Accredited

Sullivan University
SU has three campuses in Louisville, Lexington and Fort Knox. The main campus for its Global e-Learning program is located in Louisville
2100 Gardiner Lane
Louisville, Kentucky 40205
Beverage Management
CCSACS & ACF Accredited

University of Phoenix
This University has campuses in over 40 states, and two locations in Canada
4602 East Elwood Street
Phoenix, AZ
Hospitality, Travel and Tourism
HLC Accredited

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2 Responses to “Selecting a Culinary College in Arkansas”

  1. Violet Bryant Says:

    Is it hard to be succesful if you want to become a pastry chef in Arkansas? What would be the best college or program to go into in Arkansas?

  2. Bongani Bw Mfuko Says:

    I need to talk to someone about culinary associate degree.

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