While North Dakota is geographically a large state, it is very sparsely populated. In all of North Dakota, there are only about 700,000 people living in the state. As a result, the cost of living in the state is 7% lower than the national average.
Most of North Dakota is rural, but there are some large cities here. Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks are the largest cities in North Dakota. They are also the site of North Dakota’s biggest restaurants, which include the Ranch Steakhouse, the Missouri Club, and Brick House Grille. Because of the huge amount of ranches in North Dakota, chefs have access to fresh beef year-round.
There is one school in North Dakota that has a culinary arts program—North Dakota State College of Science. Tuition here costs $4,177 per semester. However, many students earn merit or need-based scholarships. This is evident when you look at the state’s average scholarship award of $1,307.
Culinary Schools in North Dakota
There are two different paths you can pursue at North Dakota State College of Science. You can choose between Chef Training and Management or Restaurant Management. The Chef Training and Management problem is the more comprehensive culinary program, as it includes cooking skills as well as management skills. However, the Restaurant Management program is more focused on staff management, customer service, and running both the back of the house and the front of the house in a restaurant.
In the Chef Training and Management program, you earn 74 credits over the course of two or 2.5 years. You can plan on taking courses like Short Order Cookery, Sanitation and Safety, Menu Planning, and Culinary Nutrition.
One of the benefits of attending this college is the culinary camp you can attend every summer. North Dakota State College of Science Culinary Intensive is a two-week summer camp program for enrolled culinary students. At this camp, you learn about new ingredients, analyze knife skills, and compete in an Iron Chef competition.
As a new culinary graduate, you may be able to work in many different settings. However, the most popular choice is restaurant work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 46% of working chefs are employed at restaurants. The Bureau also indicates that 13% of chefs are self-employed, as a private chef or caterer.
Some of the largest culinary employers in North Dakota are LongHorn Steakhouse, Emeritus Corporation, and Gecko Hospitality. It’s important to note that due to North Dakota’s rural layout, most employers are located in urban areas.
North Dakota is one of many states in the country that offers freedom to practice to chefs and cooks. You do not need a license or certificate to work as a chef in this state. However, many chefs do decide to get certified by the American Culinary Federation. You must pass a skills exam and a written exam to get a certificate from this group.
In North Dakota, cooks and chefs tend to earn between $16,800 and $47,500 per year (O*Net, 2012). Your income potential may fluctuate depending on how much experience and seniority you gain as a chef.
The demand for cooks is strong across the country, but it’s even better in North Dakota. The demand for cooks is expected to grow 19% between 2010 and 2020 (O*Net, 2010). Job openings for chefs are expected to increase by 2% in the same time period (O*Net, 2010).