Culinary Certificate or Degree

If you are considering pursuing a career as a Minnesota chef you should consider pursuing a culinary education at a culinary school. But what program should you enter? Typically you will find choices of culinary arts, baking/pastry arts, and hospitality management. Additionally you must choose whether you want to pursue an associate in applied science or a certificate program. Your preference and personal circumstance will help determine your choice.

The difference in the programs are pretty clear so let’s take a closer look at the difference in program lengths.

Minnesota Cooking Degrees

If you plan to become a Minnesota chef, either the associate degree or certificate program course length can assist in that goal. But which one is best for you?

Associate Degrees

An associate degree is typically an undergraduate degree awarded upon successful completion of a specified program of study either in a subject area or in General Studies including the completion of at least 60 credits. They can either be terminal degrees or used to transfer credits into an eligible continuing bachelor’s program.

An Associate in Applied Science (AAS) is a specialized degree conferred upon graduates of technical or vocational schools. Students entering the program typically have no experience in the specific field. An AAS can help prepare students for entry level positions within the chosen field.

Certificate or Diploma Programs

Certificate programs include study in a specific field intended for occupational training, upgrading or retraining, usually requiring 30 credits or less. A certificate is recognition that you have trained and completed training in a specific vocational field. It typically does not require general education courses and focuses more on vocational skills.

Certificate programs are often best suited to working professionals who are seeking career enrichment and the potential for professional advancement opportunities.

How Do I Choose?

It depends upon where you are at in your career.

If you are fresh out of high school or in a different career, an associate in applied science in culinary arts may be your best bet. You can gain all of the training you need to land an entry-level position in the culinary arts.

If you are already working in the food service industry and you want to supplement your knowledge to pursue advancement opportunities, then a certificate program could be just what you need. The additional skill sets could help differentiate you from the competition.

Minnesota Chef Certification

It’s important to note that completing a certificate program at a culinary school does not make you a certified chef. Certifications are a separate recognition granted by certifying organizations after completing defined requirements. For example the American Culinary Federation provides certification for master chef, executive chefs, and sous-chefs among several others.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul offers Le Cordon Bleu culinary education classes and culinary training programs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit for more information.

The jobs mentioned are examples of certain potential jobs, not a representation that these outcomes are more probable than others. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Minneapolis/St. Paul does not guarantee employment or salary.