Your mom raves about your scallop dish. Your friends all say that your desserts are next-level. The kitchen is and always will be your happy place. For all these reasons and more, you’re thinking about turning your passion for food into a life-long career.
While there are many career paths that you can take to become a chef, we want to highlight one in particular: chef apprenticeship. With the right chef apprenticeship program, you can learn the job-ready skills you need to prepare you for a successful career in the culinary arts.
What Is a Chef Apprenticeship?
While culinary school has its merits, it’s not the only way to become the next Julia Child. If you want to advance your career without shelling out thousands for an education, a chef apprenticeship is definitely worth considering.
But let’s back up a sec. What is an apprenticeship and why should you consider it as a budding chef?
Apprenticeships are basically a combination of on-the-job training and classroom education. They’re often associated with the skilled trades — and, yes, that includes cooking! Cooking is considered both an art and a skilled trade which you can study in a trade school environment.
Interested in the trade school route? Read more about trade school vs. college on the Tallo blog!
Apprenticeships are part of a “learn-while-you-earn” model, which means that you’ll get a steady paycheck as you learn how to whip up masterful creations alongside an experienced professional. In other words, you can skip the student debt and immerse yourself in the world of cooking right away. Pretty sweet deal if you ask us!
6 Must-Know Facts About Culinary Apprenticeships
Interested in knowing more about culinary apprenticeships? If you’re eager to get hands-on experience in an actual cooking environment, a chef apprenticeship could be right for you. Here are a few more facts about culinary apprenticeships that you should know:
- You probably won’t make the big bucks at first. The average salary for a culinary chef in 2019 was $51,530 per year, which is a decent wage depending on where you live. However, don’t expect to be making that much as a chef apprentice. You’ll start with a fairly low wage and earn more as you progress further in your apprenticeship. Hey, at least you’re not stressing over student debt, right?
- You can earn credit towards a degree. It’s totally possible to land a high-paying job without a degree. That being said, a degree can open doors in the culinary arts industry. If you want to consider your education after your apprenticeship, you’ll be pleased to know that many chef apprenticeships programs offer courses that count towards an associate’s degree.
- You can choose to specialize. Is your passion creating decadent desserts? Or do you prefer to showcase your creativity in your cuisine? No matter where your passions lie, there is a specialty apprenticeship that will help you grow your unique skillset. For instance, there are baking and pastry apprenticeships, food preparation apprenticeships, hospitality and catering apprenticeships — the list is endless.
- Chef apprenticeships last one to three years. Completing a chef apprenticeship takes roughly the same amount of time as it would take to earn a culinary arts degree, which is to say at least one or two years. The main difference between the two is that you’ll have more money left in your wallet by the time you get done with an apprenticeship.
- You’ll gain valuable job experience. You need culinary experience to bust into the industry, but you also need a job in order to get said experience. This is a classic catch-22 situation that many culinary students find themselves in after they graduate. By securing an apprenticeship, you can gain employment immediately and use it to beef up your resume. More good news? The vast majority (91 percent) of apprentices are still employed nine months after they complete their training.
- You can get advanced certification. After a few years of working in the industry, you can qualify for advanced certification. Credentials matter, especially in the culinary industry. Being certified by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) can enhance your reputation as a budding chef, and many employers want their new hires to have certification.
An Exciting Career
Although culinary school certainly has its merits, it’s not the only career pathway to become a professional chef. If you want to get hands-on training that prepares you for an exciting career in the culinary arts, consider a chef apprenticeship. With the right apprenticeship, you can get the job-ready skills you need while working towards your dream.