Your Next Level of Culinary Education in Las Vegas

Las Vegas is a hot spot for not only tourism, night life, and entertainment, but it’s also well-known for being home to some of the best restaurants and top chefs. There, you can find some of the top names in dining, from Le Cirque to Wolfgang Puck. With the range of choices for culinary training in Las Vegas, yours could be added to the list of top names. Don’t worry: When it comes to your chef’s education, what happens in Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Vegas.

How to pick the right program

Finding a culinary school doesn’t have to be a spin of the wheel. Knowing some basic information about identifying a quality program will stack the cards in your favor. Courses that are taught by experienced professors and chefs are essential to a good education. Training will teach you what experience can’t: Make sure that any program you choose has a contemporary, fully-equipped training kitchen. A student-run restaurant or café like the one at Le Cordon Bleu provides even more hands-on experience, and it will help prepare you for the fast-paced, high-demand kitchens that you’ll find out in the market. Finally, make sure the school has options for job placement, or at least job counseling. For example, The Culinary Training Academy, defined as a labor-management partnership, has relationships with many of the top hotels on the strip, offering job placement and training opportunities. Look for programs that include internships and apprenticeships. The experience will start building your resume before you even finish your studies.

The hottest clubs in Las Vegas may have a wait around the corner, but don’t expect to be velvet-roped when applying to most culinary schools. Most will treat you like a VIP if you have the basic academic requirements, including a high-school diploma or GED. If your coveted school is more exclusive, you may have to do more than slip the doorman a twenty. Some schools may require you to take a test show you know your way around the kitchen, or you may be required to have some work experience.
Las Vegas Skyline.

Flexibility for your degree

In such a fast-moving city, it’s no surprise that options for your degree can take as little as 18 weeks. Most associate’s programs can take two years to finish, but many schools offer options to fast-track your degree to enter the job market more quickly. Certificates and diplomas can be finished in about a year or less. But if you’re looking at management, especially at one of the top hotels on the strip, you’ll likely be looking at a degree that takes four years, or even more.

If you want to get started on your work in a real-world kitchen while also pursuing your studies, online programs offer options for that flexibility. You can even learn some cooking skills through the aid of video instruction. Not all programs have that option though: Many offer courses intended to be taken in conjunction with work experience or previous lab work. Management degrees are often able to be taken exclusively online, and they are more common.

On your way to stardom

Demand for restaurant jobs is expected to grow steadily across the state over the next few years, so there will be plenty of opportunities for new graduates. And Las Vegas is at the epicenter of tourism and entertainment in Las Vegas – as well as one of the top spots across the country. Remember that experience will be key to finding the best positions, as well as commanding the top salary. Networking will be helpful in your job search. Join professional groups like the Nevada Restaurant Association to meet industry insiders and to get the scoop on jobs before they’re even posted. You’ll also meet chefs and other restaurant leaders at food and wine festivals. Entering cooking competitions can also help you make a reputation for yourself, while giving you the chance to be seen by potential employers.

Don’t expect to make the big bucks right away. Top chefs will make the most, but you’ll have to work your way up the ranks from link cook to assistant cook to sous chef. Jobs in Las Vegas will pay better than those in rural or suburban areas, but the type of establishment will make a difference. Working at a top hotel, resort or spa, or even at an upscale restaurant, will pay better than jobs on the buffet line or the 3 a.m. diner. Just keep putting in your time and working your way up, and you’ll be the next Wolfgang Puck in no time!

Campus-based programs

College of Southern Nevada
6375 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89146
Culinary Arts
Hotel Management
NWCCU accredited

Le Cordon Bleu
1451 Center Crossing Road
Las Vegas, NV 89144
Culinary Arts
Patisserie and Baking
ACCSCT accredited

The Art Institutes at Las Vegas
2350 Corporate Circle
Henderson, NV 89074-7737
Baking and Pastry
Culinary Arts
Culinary Management
Food and Beverage Management
ACCSCT accredited

The Culinary Training Academy
710 West Lake Mead Blvd.
North Las Vegas, Nevada 89030
(702) 924 – 2100
Culinary Apprenticeship
Gourmet Food Server
Professional Cook
No regional accreditation

University of Nevada-Las Vegas
4505 S. Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89154
Hospitality Management
NWCCU accredited

Online-based Programs

The Art Institutes of Pittsburgh – Online Division
Hotel and Restaurant Management
MSCHE accredited

Ashworth College
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC accredited

The Culinary Institute of America – CIA Pro Chef
Culinary Arts
CHEMSACS accredited

Johnson and Wales University
Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
Culinary Arts & Food Service Management
NEASC accredited

Penn Foster Career School
Hotel and Restaurant Management
DETC & CHEA accredited

SITE Academy
No regional accreditation
AHLA association

Sullivan College
Beverage Management
CCSACS & ACF accredited

Stratford Career Institute
Hotel/Restaurant Management
Travel and Tourism
DlA member, no regional accreditation

Virginia College Online
Culinary Arts
ACICS accredited

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