How Do You Become a Chef?

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If you like to create new things, especially in the kitchen, you might want to look into how to become a chef. With this fun and exciting career, you might have the potential to work in some of the fanciest restaurants around the world. Or, it can be rewarding in other ways by simply preparing something that someone else enjoys eating. No matter what your motive for becoming one, being a chef can be a great career.

Training to Become a Chef

Post-secondary education is usually not required to become a chef, however, there are many options available for those who choose to gain knowledge in this area by furthering their education. Some great ways to train to become a chef include:

  • Programs through community colleges
  • Technical schools
  • Culinary arts schools
  • 4-year colleges

As expected, students who attend culinary programs spend much of their time in the kitchen. However, other areas they receive training are menu planning, food sanitation procedures, and all other aspects of working in the kitchen. Training programs can also require students to attain experience in commercial kitchens, usually through internships or apprenticeship programs. Before becoming a chef, other kinds of jobs chefs in training might hold include line cooks and other jobs in restaurant and hotel kitchens.

Job Outlook for Chefs

It has never been a better time to learn how to become a chef. The job outlook is quite good and the employment of chefs is projected to grow 9 percent by the year 2024, which is faster than average when compared to other occupations. The average salary for chefs in 2015 was $$41,500 a year or $19.95 per hour. Jobs that pay the highest include chef positions at casinos, upscale restaurants, and hotels. Some important qualities for chefs to have include:

  • Business skills
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Leadership skills
  • Sense of taste and smell
  • Time-management skills

Chefs should also have plenty of physical stamina since the job usually requires a lot of time on the feet, working in fast-paced environments, and working long shifts.

Other Helpful Hints for Becoming A Chef

For chefs who really want to succeed, one recommendation would be to become a member of a professional organization such as the American Culinary Federation, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, or the James Beard Foundation. Many professional organizations such as these accept students as members and each has their own set of requirements. Belonging to one of these organizations can be advantageous as they often offer access to education opportunities, scholarships, apprenticeship programs, and culinary resources and publications. They also hold many events for students and professionals including annual conventions and competitions. Certification can be attained through some of these professional organizations which can help lead to advancement and higher pay.

If you are looking for a fun and rewarding career where you can use your creative skills, you may want to consider becoming a chef. And now that you know how to become a chef, you can start planning for this exciting career today.

Related: What Should a Foodie Look for in a Culinary School?