Options for a Cooking Career in Georgia

Georgia offers a unique mix of Southern tradition and progressive trends. And you’ll find the same sampling across its menus, from soul food to sushi and tapas. It’s a fertile environment for budding chefs, from those who are interested in traditional techniques to those who are eager to experiment with new forms.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic The National Restaurant Association anticipated a significant increase in industry employment, however restaurants and hospitality were the hardest hit industries by the crisis.

Here’s what you can do to be a part of the rebirth of the industry:

Going to Culinary School

Getting into a program is usually the easiest part of the process. Admission usually only requires a high-school diploma or GED. For some programs, you may have to prove your mettle by taking an assessment test or showing off your skills, learned either through experience or personal study. Previous work experience or attendance at conferences or seminars can be the icing on the cake.

When you look for a program, be sure to find one that has a quality kitchen, the centerpiece of your education. It should be well-stocked, student-run and open to the public. And, of course, the quality of your education is only as good as your teachers. Look for programs the showcase experience, especially chefs or former chefs. But don’t focus all your attention on theory. Find a program that encourages students to get their hands dirty, offering opportunities for internships, job training and apprenticeships.

Finishing a Program

Most culinary programs cater to the needs of students with an eye towards entering the job market quickly, offering programs that take only one to two years to complete. Many more offer night classes, and some even offer online-learning options.

Online programs often emphasize theory over technique, complementing previous hands-on training or lab work. But video instruction guides students through techniques when attendance at a campus-based program isn’t possible. And there are multiple options for finishing degrees in hospitality and tourism management exclusively online.

The list below showcases the top schools with culinary programs in the state.

Landing the Job

Downtown Atlanta.

Graduates are likely to find a job they love in any of the thousands of restaurants, resorts, schools, and hotels in Georgia. Typical food industry salaries in Georgia range according to position, city, and experience. A waiter/waitress will earn an annual average salary of $21,570; a Registered Dietitian earns $50,580; a first-line supervisor will earn about $32,240; a head chef will earn approximately $52,950; and a restaurant cook earns an average salary of around $26,030.

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

If you’re just starting out, there are some things you can do to improve your chances. Try going to local food and wine festivals and entering competitions to increase your visibility. Some examples include the Taste of Atlanta, the Vidalia Onion Festival & the Celebrity Chef Tour. Never underestimate the power of networking. Check out professional groups such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association.

Campus-based Schools in Georgia

Albany Technical College
1704 S. Slappey Blvd.
Albany, Ga. 31701
Culinary Arts
Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management
CCSACS Accredited

Atlanta Technical College
1560 Metropolitan Parkway SW
Atlanta, GA 30310-4446
Hotel/Restaurant/Tourism Management
CCSACS Accredited

Augusta Technical College
3116 Deans Bridge Road
Augusta, GA 30906-3399
Culinary Arts
CCSACS Accredited

Chattahoochee Technical College
980 South Cobb Drive
Marietta, GA 30060
Culinary Arts
CCSACS & ACF Accredited

Fort Valley State University
1005 State University Drive
Fort Valley, GA 31030-3298
Food and Nutrition Studies
CCSACS Accredited

Georgia State University
P.O. Box 3965
Atlanta, GA 30302-3965
Hospitality Administration
SACS Accredited

Georgia Southern University
P.O. Box: 8104
Statesboro, GA 30460
Hotel and Restaurant Management
SACS Accredited

Gwinnett Technical College
5150 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Culinary Arts
Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management
CCSACS Accredited

Morris Brown College
643 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr
Atlanta, GA 30314
Hospitality Management
No accreditation (lost in 2002)

Savannah Technical College
5717 White Bluff Road
Savannah, GA 31405
Culinary Arts
Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism
CCSACS Accredited

The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institute of Atlanta
600 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30328-1635
Culinary Arts
Culinary Arts – Baking and Pastry
Wine, Spirits and Beverage Management
Culinary Arts Management
Food and Beverage Management
CCSACS & ACF Accredited

West Georgia Technical College
997 South Highway 16
Carrollton, GA 30116
Culinary Arts
CCSACS Accredited

Online-based Instruction Available Nationwide

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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One Response to “Options for a Cooking Career in Georgia”

  1. William Selden Says:

    Do you get a salary while doing apprenticeships or internships while attending culinary school?

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