How To Become a Chef and Head Cook

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Chefs and Head Cooks career information
pros and cons of being a Chef and Head Cook

Chefs and Head Cooks

direct and may participate in the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, fish, meats, vegetables, desserts, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts.

Job Satisfaction
Not Too Hard
Becoming One
Job Growth
Suitable Personality

How To Become a Chef and Head Cook

How long does it take, what degree do you need and more.

In this requirements guide for Chefs and Head Cooks, you will find out what do you need to become a Chef and Head Cook, how hard is it, and what does it take to become one.

After reading this, you will be able to plan for your future if you want to be a Chef and Head Cook.

What degree do you need

Recommended degree level

Associate’s Degree

We did a survey to ask other Chefs and Head Cooks what degree they had when they became a Chef and Head Cook. Here are the results.
Associate’s Degree

a Post-Secondary Certificate

High School Diploma

One of the most common questions that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become Chefs and Head Cooks or what courses do I need to take.

We also asked Chefs and Head Cooks what did they major in college or university and here are the top 5 most popular majors that came up.

Cooking and Related Culinary Arts
Baking and Pastry Arts
Culinary Arts
Restaurant, Culinary, and Catering Management
Culinary Science or Culinology

A growing number of chefs and head cooks receive formal training at community colleges, technical schools, culinary arts schools, and 4-year colleges. Programs cover all aspects of kitchen work, including menu planning, food sanitation procedures, and purchasing and inventory methods.


schools for Chefs and Head Cooks

Interested in becoming ? Find the right schools that can help you to become one. You will need some of your details to get you matched with the right college or university. This service is free thanks to our sponsors.

Questions to ask the university or college:

  1. How many students are in the program?
  2. Is your program accredited?
  3. How many faculty members do you have? Do they hold the right credentials?
  4. What is your job placement rate?
  5. Does your school hold career fairs or other on-campus events with employers? How many employers typically attend?
  6. How many of your students have at least one internship by graduation?

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How hard is it

Not Too Hard

You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge or experience to be a Chef and Head Cook. For example, an electrician must complete three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Careers in this difficulty category will usually need 1 or 2 years of on-the-job training and informal training with experienced workers. These careers usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Similar careers include hydroelectric production managers, travel agents, electricians, court reporters, and medical assistants.

Related work experience required
4 to 6 years

4 to 6 years

2 to 4 years


Job training
Up to 1 month

Up to 1 month

1 to 3 months


License and certifications

Do you need any license or certification
Recommended but not required

Although not required, certification can show competence and lead to advancement and higher pay. The American Culinary Federation certifies Chefs and Head Cooks, in addition to various levels of chefs. Certification standards are based primarily on work-related experience and formal training. Minimum work experience for certification can range from 6 months to 5 years, depending on the level of certification.

Skills required

We asked other Chefs and Head Cooks if they could only have 5 skills, what would they be. Here is what they said.

1. Monitoring what does this mean
2.Speaking what does this mean
3.Coordination what does this mean
4.Social Perceptiveness what does this mean
5.Time Management what does this mean

= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

Knowledge required

Just like any other job, you will need certain know-hows to excel at your job. Chefs and Head Cooks are generally very knowledgeable in these 5 key areas.

1. Food Production what does this mean
2.Production and Processing what does this mean
3.Customer and Personal Service what does this mean
4.Education and Training what does this mean
5.Mathematics what does this mean

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