Oklahoma Culinary Schools
Offering a mix of urban, suburban, and rural communities, Oklahoma can be a great place for an aspiring chef. Some of the largest cities in Oklahoma are Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Norman. These cities are home to many of the best restaurants in Oklahoma, which include Tokyo Pot, Cafe Alley, and Ken's Steak & Ribs.
If you are ready to start your culinary career, there are 23 schools in Oklahoma that you can choose to attend. The average acceptance rate is 92%, so you can feel confident about your chances of getting into the school of your choice. Tuition is also generally inexpensive in Oklahoma, as the average tuition cost is $3,438. There are many scholarships, both need-based and merit-based, leading to an average scholarship award of $1,122.
Each culinary program is laid out roughly the same way. However, an Associate's degree program tends to go more in-depth than a certificate program. Early in your program, you can plan on learning basic kitchen skills that are necessary for any kitchen to run smoothly. You build a strong base with this knowledge and then build on it as you progress through your program.
As you master basic skills, you add advanced chef techniques into the mix. For instance, you may learn how to create healthy and delicious dishes, manage food costs, and manage a kitchen.
Some programs allow you to take elective courses, either in the culinary field or outside the field. If you choose to take culinary electives, you may focus on specific cuisines or cooking methods. If you go outside of this field, consider taking business or management courses to prepare you for restaurant ownership.
With your new culinary skills, there are many ways you can start a culinary career. Some chefs work for catering companies; this opportunity tends to allow you to work with a greater variety of clients. You could also work for a private chef and cook for families. However, restaurants are far and away the largest employers of chefs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that fully 46% of chefs are employed by restaurants.
If you want to work for a restaurant or catering company, some of the largest employers in Oklahoma are Ovations Food Services, Patrice & Associates, and LSG Sky Chefs. However, you can also get a license to open your own restaurant or catering company.
Despite the fact that Oklahoma does not have any licensure or certification requirements for chefs, many chefs decide to pursue third-party certification. This can help you find a job if you want to prove your abilities to employers. The American Culinary Federation offers certification in different specialties and at different levels.
The salary you earn as a chef in Oklahoma largely depends on what rank you hold. Chef rank, from lowest to highest, goes line chef, sous chef, and executive chef. While working at a lower rank, you may earn less money. However, you can earn considerably more money once you work your way up to sous chef or executive chef.
The job outlook for cooks and chefs is promising all over the country. However, it is even better in Oklahoma. Chefs can expect a 6% increase in job openings between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). In that same time period, cooks can expect a 23% increase in job openings (O*Net, 2010).