Tips on How to Become a Sous Chef

The sous chef is essentially the “right hand man” of the head chef. They start work in the kitchen before anyone else, and are usually the last to leave. They may be required to fill-in for other positions (even the head chef), and are responsible for all the small, overlooked details that are involved in kitchen work.


Like the head chef, a sous chef must be trained up to three to six months in every area of the kitchen, and have a proven understanding of safety and sanitation. To be hired as a sous chef, most employers ask that the individual has at least two to five years of experience.

Sous Chef With Cooks.



Almost all sous chefs complete their ServSafe certification, which can be completed online at The exam takes 60 to 90 minutes to complete, and costs $95. There is also a program manual available, which can be completed in less than 90 days and costs $125. If you’re looking for in-class training, go to the ServSafe website and type in your city in the “Class Locator” search field.


A diploma may be a good idea if you don’t have any kind of work or kitchen experience. A diploma takes one to two years to complete, and is usually available at culinary schools or chef colleges, as well as some trade/technical schools, colleges, and some universities.


Although a degree is not required to become a sous chef, it may be a good idea to invest a higher-level of culinary education. An associate’s degree in culinary arts takes one to two years to complete, while a bachelor’s degree takes four years and is generally more expensive. Both degrees are available in various culinary schools, chef colleges, and universities.


As a sous chef you could work for any of the following:

  • Restaurants
  • Hotels
  • Private companies
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Government (federal, state and local)
  • Catering companies
  • Prisons
  • Cafeterias
  • Cruise Lines
  • Casinos
  • Resorts
  • Spas


With one year of experience a sous chef can make $20,000, and up to $50,000 with over 20 years of experience. Sous chefs get paid the most working for local and federal government institutions.

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10 Responses to “Tips on How to Become a Sous Chef”

  1. abdulsamd Says:


    i want to see your document by post. this is my postal address 1729/323 baldia town karachi pakistan

  2. Jose Says:

    I have been working In restaurant,hotels Since 1986
    I Don’t have high school diploma can I get at any of this programs without it?

  3. Ben Tsoaela Says:

    I am doing my last year as a professional cookery student and in order for me to get my qualification i need to get a six months indisrial training,can you please help me to find a suitable establishment for me to and do this training at please.

  4. joshton Says:

    hi hi good day i am looking for a school to do by sous chef course can u all help me please am fron Trindad & Tobago my name is 18683864418

  5. Sheradie Harris Says:

    I have been working in restaurants hotels and in the army I do not have a high school Diploma can I get in to one of these programs

  6. Jerico cardozo Says:

    I am working for a cruise lines for almost 8years and i am on a promotion node for that i have to do management traning for sous chef . i need to know all about the possible things which i need to learn during this training period like ( traning program , costing , butchery,pastry 0 i would be very much thankfull if i get some information ..

  7. Martin Trejo Says:

    Hello, I recently got laid off from my job. I have been working in the food industry, for more than 10 years, but I want to better my self. Now that I”m looking for a job came to find out, that patrons are asking for some certifications, I” have a lot experience but no credentials. I want to become a certified Sous Chef, what do you recommend for me?

  8. Cynthia Says:

    I have a question about a person who has 24 years working in a community kitchen and now the job is changing where they need to be certified as a sous chef. With all this person experience do you think they would need to go back to school to be certified? could they just update on what they need to learn to become a sous chef? or is there just a test(S) that could be done online? or half school/half online.
    I’m just trying to help someone out.
    Thanks for your time

  9. Coach Ty Lynch Says:

    I don’t have a diploma can I get into any of these programs without one

  10. Randy Box Says:

    I am Interested in applying for certification for Executive Sous Chef I have work in the culinary Industry for sixteen years and is there a website that I can go onto pay and study to become Executive Sous Chef?

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