#10 of 30in30: Culinary Art Degrees

Culinary Arts programs

What is it?

Are you constantly watching the Food Network? Do you dream of becoming a Top Chef? Does your cookie recipe put the Girl Scouts to shame?

If you answered yes to any of these questions — Virginia’s Community Colleges have a degree program that’s perfect for you.

The Culinary Arts degree is a  two year (or less)  program, that prepares its students with education and training to become a chef, sharpen your cooking skills and enter into the multi-billion dollar food service industry.

Who is it helping?

Whether it’s a career change you’re looking for or a dream you’re trying to follow, no matter what stage of life you are at, this degree program puts your goals within reach.

ShaWanda Weatherspoon balances her job as a chef at an upscale restaurant and caring for her young daughter while pursuing a Culinary Arts degree because of the flexibility provided by Virginia Western Community College. And the best part is, she’s doing what she loves.


“My favorite place to be is in a kitchen, making amazing food for people who enjoy great food,” she says.

For more on her story and another culinary student, Carl Booth from Central Virginia Community College, be sure to read our 2012 Annual Report.

Where is it offered?

You can find this program at five of our colleges including:

Central Virginia Community College
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Tidewater Community College
Virginia Western Community College

What are we learning from it?

Everybody’s got to eat but the job field for this industry is becoming more competitive, requiring a trained workforce with degrees.  We’re learning that culinary degrees aren’t just for aspiring chefs and bakers. The career possibilities with this degree include becoming a nutritionist, dietitian, entrepreneur, food critic, caterer or even an executive chef on a cruise line. The list could go on forever.

What does the future hold for it?

Jobs in the food and hospitality industry are hot right now and the places for employment seem to be limitless. As noted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since January this industry has added 41,000 jobs!

Since a recent low in February 2010, food services has added 531,000 jobs, averaging 22,000 jobs per month.


So if you want to dive into this competitive but expanding industry put yourself ahead of the game with a Culinary Arts degree from Virginia’s Community Colleges.


Editor’s Note: 30 Ways in 30 Days Virginia’s Community Colleges are Elevating Virginia is a month-long blog series dedicated to exploring some of the many creative and inspiring ways our colleges are helping people find and create opportunity. The series is part of the VCCS tribute to National Community College Month. To read more of the series just click on the “30 ways in 30 days” category.

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