Montana Culinary Schools
While Montana is one of the most sparsely populated states in the country, there are still many opportunities for you as a culinary student. There are over one million people living in Montana, many of whom live in the state's largest cities of Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls. This is also where well-known restaurants tend to be located. Some of the most well-known restaurants in Montana include Nap's Grill, Powder Keg, and Wild West Pizzeria.
Montana is known for having a high standard of living, even though the cost of living is only 4% above the national average. The cost of living is even lower in the many rural communities of Montana.
In Montana, there are two schools that offer culinary programs. They give you the opportunity to earn a certificate, Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree, or Master's degree in culinary arts. The average acceptance rate of 93% gives you good odds of getting into a program that interests you. Getting an education in Montana can be very affordable, since the average tuition cost is $5,659. In addition, Montana has an average scholarship award of $2,872.
The different culinary arts programs in Montana all have fairly similar structures. They tackle the same fields and topics. Some of the topics covered in culinary arts school include food prep, running a kitchen, food safety, and menu creation.
While all of these aspects are very important, food safety may be one of the most important topics you learn about. Restaurants are subject to random inspections that may test your knowledge of Montana's food safety laws. Failing to meet state standards can lead to citations fines, and even kitchen shutdowns.
If you plan on owning your own restaurant or catering company, it is important to plan for the business aspect of your career. Depending on which school you attend, you may be able to take business or management courses to round out your education.
One of the primary advantages of getting a culinary degree is the many ways you can use it to build your career. Most chefs work in restaurants, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, you may be able to work as a caterer or private chef. Since Montana is so sparsely populated, you may find the most job opportunities in large cities in Montana. Some of the largest culinary employers in Montana are Grand Teton National Park, Panda Restaurant Group, and Emeritus Corporation. If you live in a more rural area of Montana, you may be able to work as a self-employed chef.
Montana, like almost every other state in the country, has no licensing or certification requirements for cooks and chefs. This is great for you, since you don't have to worry about another step in starting your career. However, you can apply for American Culinary Federation certification if you think it will help your career. You can choose a specific topic and expertise level and then get licensed.
As a new chef, you will likely start out as a line chef, the lowest paid position in the kitchen. However, you can quickly work your way through the ranks of sous chef and executive chef by working hard. Higher ranks often mean higher earning potential.
The general job outlook for cooks and chefs in Montana is strong. Job openings for restaurant cooks are expected to increase by 15%, which is more than the national average, between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). Chefs can expect a 2% increase in job openings in the same decade (O*Net, 2010).