Top Culinary School - St. Louis, MO

Students interested in studying culinary arts in St. Louis, MO, have only a few schools to choose from. Read about the top local schools' degree programs, tuition and ranking info to find the right one for you.

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Top Culinary Arts Programs in St. Louis, MO

Only about seven schools within 50 miles of St. Louis offer programs in culinary arts. The top schools, based on graduation rates, program awards conferred and tuition, are St. Louis Community College, Jefferson College, Southwestern Illinois College and East Central College.

While St. Louis Community College has the lowest graduation rate, it offers culinary arts and baking programs and conferred the highest number of degrees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), making it the top school. The 1st runner up, Jefferson College, offers the highest graduation rate of the three schools, according to the NCES, and offers a certificate and associate degree in culinary arts; however, it's located about 37 miles away in Hillsboro.

The 2nd runner up, Southwestern Illinois College, has the second most awards conferred and the second highest graduation rate, but tuition rates are much higher because it's an out-of-state school. Located about 50 miles away in Union, East Central College is the 3rd runner up with certificate and degree programs in culinary arts.

School Comparison Chart

Category St. Louis Community College Jefferson College Southwestern Illinois College
Location St. Louis, MO Hillsboro, MO (37.2 miles from downtown St. Louis) Belleville, IL (21.8 miles from downtown St. Louis)
School Type 2-year, public* 2-year, public* 2-year, public*
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)$2,670 (in-district),
$4,050 (in-state),
$5,700 (out-of-state)*
$2,208 (in-district),
$3,288 (in-state),
$4,368 (out-of-state)*
$2,922 (in-district),
$6,954 (in-state),
$10,370 (out-of-state)*
Culinary Arts Award Levels Offered Certificate; associate degree Certificate; associate degree Certificate; associate degree
Culinary Arts Certificates and Degrees Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012 82* 13* 28*
Most Popular Culinary Arts Program (2011-2012) Associate in Culinary Arts (56 awarded)* Associate in Culinary Arts (12 awarded)* Certificate in Culinary Arts (17 awarded)*
Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2009 Entering Class 10%* 27%* 26%*
Noteworthy The school offers professional development and continuing education courses in culinary arts On-campus housing is available, which is rare among 2-year schools The Career Services Center offers assistance with resumes, internships and job searches

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

Winner: St. Louis Community College

  • The hospitality studies program offers three options: hotel and restaurant, culinary arts and baking and pastry arts
  • 80% of full-time beginning students and 56% of all students received grant or scholarship aid in 2011-2012, according to the NCES
  • The school offers a new cake decorating certificate through the continuing education division
  • The programs are accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF)

St. Louis Community College offers culinary arts and baking associate degree programs through the hospitality studies division. The Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts program includes coursework in sanitation, cost control, food preparation, global cuisine and restaurant operations, as well as two practicum experiences. The pastry and baking associate degree program explores baking theory, bread, cake production, ice cream and plated desserts. A certificate of proficiency in hospitality studies is also available, as well as continuing education certificates and courses in culinary arts.

Runner-Up #1: Jefferson College

  • Program includes hands-on kitchen training
  • Students have access to an Employment Services Office that can help them with resumes and interviewing techniques
  • 91% of full-time undergraduate students received some financial aid in 2011-2012, according to the NCES

Jefferson College offers a 3-year, 67-credit culinary arts associate degree program that teaches students the fundamentals of restaurant management and culinary arts. Students can also complete 1-year or 2-year culinary arts certificate programs. In addition to business and culinary arts courses, students can choose from electives, including pastry, baking, first aid and CPR, professional cake decorating and ServSafe sanitation.

Runner Up #2: Southwestern Illinois College

  • Culinary arts and food management programs accredited by the ACF
  • Degree program and food service and management certificate includes internship

Southwestern Illinois College offers a 71-credit associate degree program in culinary arts and food management that prepares students for entry-level chef or restaurant management positions. Within the program, students examine baking, food costs, culinary nutrition, garde manger, menu development and business. Students complete two internship requirements as well.

The school also offers specialized certificate programs in food service, food service and management and culinary arts. Students have access to a food service kitchen equipped with up-to-date amenities, instructors with restaurant experience and a career center.

Runner-Up #3: East Central College

  • 18:1 student-faculty ratio, according to the NCES
  • Program is accredited by the ACF
  • School offers a modern kitchen, cold room and bakeshop

East Central College offers a 1-year certificate in culinary arts, as well as a 2-year culinary arts associate degree program. The certificate program provides students with basic culinary preparation knowledge and skills. Certificate-seeking students complete courses in food costs, equipment identification, purchasing, baking and menu planning, as well as a culinary internship. The associate degree program includes all certificate courses and internships, as well as courses in kitchen management, recipe development, international cooking and catering.

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • New York campus Ithaca
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
        • Institutional Food Worker
  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts campus Boston
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
  • School locations:
    • Idaho campus Boise
    Areas of study you may find at Boise State University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework, Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Culinary Arts and Personal Services
      • Culinary Arts and Culinary Services
        • Chef Training

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Jobs in MO

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics