When a runner starts a race, they know exactly how many meters or miles they’ve got in front of them before they reach the finish line. Those considering a new career—backed up by a degree or diploma—should also know exactly how many weeks or months of schooling they can anticipate before they earn that credential.
At Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, we offer programs in five different specialties, ranging from 30 to 84 weeks. That means that in approximately seven months, you could complete your diploma program!
Here’s how long it takes to complete each program at Escoffier and how much time per week you can expect to devote to your schoolwork.
How Long Is Culinary School?
Total Culinary School Program Length: 30 to 60 Weeks
At Escoffier, students can find a culinary arts education with a foundation in French cuisine. With a curriculum that includes traditional techniques as well as contemporary methodologies, students can complete their programs ready for their first entry-level culinary position.
Escoffier offers both diplomas and associate degrees. Because degree programs are more in-depth, they usually take longer to complete than diploma programs.
Associate Degrees in Culinary Arts
Escoffier’s associate degrees in culinary arts are all the same length, whether you’re studying at our culinary school campuses in Austin or Boulder (residential or online programs). Each of these programs consists of 90 quarter credits, which includes an estimated 1,340 clock hours over 60 weeks.1
That breaks down to just over 22 hours per week. We recommend that students allot 25 hours per week to their coursework, but individual students may need more or less time for the reading assignments or extra practice.*
“When I first started culinary school, I was pulling 80-100 hour weeks as an executive chef in the Hill Country, and [Escoffier’s online program] actually worked within my schedule.”
Lance McWhorter, Escoffier Online Graduate; Executive Chef/Owner, Culture ETX; Food Network’s “Chopped” Contestant*
Diplomas in Culinary Arts
Escoffier’s culinary diploma programs vary a bit between on-campus and online. In Austin and Boulder, culinary arts diplomas consist of 44 quarter credits of coursework. That includes 760 clock hours spread over 30 weeks. Like the degree programs, this equates to roughly 25 hours a week, but that allocation could be more or less per each student’s needs.
An online culinary arts diploma, on the other hand, requires more quarter credits over a longer time period. This program’s 59 quarter credits can be completed in 890 clock hours over 60 weeks. The longer timeframe means that students average approximately 15-22 hours per week on school-related activities, depending on program, credential, and personal pace. This may make it easier for online students to get their education while also working full-time.
What Is a Quarter Credit?
Most post-secondary schools break their curriculum requirements into credits. This unit helps schools to measure the total “value” of a course when accumulating credits for a degree, with each course assigned a credit value.
Some schools are scheduled on a semester system, with a school year divided into two halves. Escoffier works on a quarter system, with each quarter consisting of about 12 weeks. So when we refer to “quarter credits,” we don’t mean a quarter of a credit. We mean a credit earned during the timeframe of a scholastic quarter.
For example, Escoffier’s Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry course is worth 10 quarter credit hours, which contribute to the student’s total credits necessary to complete their programs.
How Long Is Plant-Based Culinary School?
Total Plant-Based Culinary School Program Length: 42 to 84 weeks
The demand for plant-based cooking is growing. Far from being a limiting culinary style, plant-based cuisine is actually wildly versatile! There are opportunities to come up with interesting ingredient substitutions and focus on seasonal eating, while also creating dishes that are sustainable for the planet and for individual health.
Escoffier offers plant-based culinary arts diplomas online and at our Boulder campus, as well as an associate degree online.
Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Plant-Based Culinary Arts
Escoffier’s online associate degree in plant-based culinary arts is comprised of 90 quarter credits, spread over 84 weeks. With 1,290 total clock hours, students can expect to devote around 15 hours per week to their studies.
Diplomas in Plant-Based Culinary Arts
The Boulder campus Diploma in Plant-Based Cuisine can be completed in 42 weeks, and includes 880 clock hours. This breaks down to about 21 hours per week.
For an online diploma, the 880 clock hours are spread across 60 weeks. Online students could work approximately 15 hours per week (again, varying from student to student) to complete their programs. This slower pace allows students the flexibility they need to fit an online education into their schedules.
Both diploma programs consist of 59 quarter credit hours.
How Long Is Baking & Pastry School?
Total Baking & Pastry School Program Length: 30 to 60 weeks
In baking and pastry school, students explore all things sweet, from cakes and cookies to patisserie and pies, custards, laminated doughs, and puff pastry. Plus, students can complete coursework in menu planning, budget management, and entrepreneurship.
Associate Degrees in Baking & Pastry
Escoffier offers associate degrees in baking and pastry arts online, as well as at the Boulder and Austin campuses. Both locations (plus the online program) offer degrees of the same duration—1,340 clock hours spread across 60 weeks. Each program includes 90 quarter credits, and is estimated around 22 hours per week to complete, depending on the student’s learning style.
Diplomas in Baking & Pastry
For students completing a Diploma in Pastry Arts in Austin or Boulder, they can expect their programs to take 30 weeks to complete, including 760 total clock hours. These programs include 44 quarter credits.
The online diploma in pastry arts is spread over a longer timeframe. The 910 clock hours (59 quarter credits) are spread over 60 weeks to allow students the option to work full-time, if necessary. Expect to devote approximately 15 hours per week to this program.
How Long Are Escoffier’s Holistic Wellness & Nutrition Programs?
Total Holistic Wellness & Nutrition Program Length: 42 to 84 weeks
Offered online, Escoffier’s holistic wellness and nutrition programs are available for both a diploma and an associate degree. These programs combine nutrition science with culinary techniques. Blending wellness, coaching, and cooking into one fascinating curriculum, the programs can help holistic health coaches and future nutrition professionals to better support their clients’ dietary needs.
Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness
The longest program under the holistic wellness umbrella is the online Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness. At 84 weeks, this program’s 1,230 clock hours can be completed in about 15 hours per week, and includes 90 quarter credits.
Diplomas in Holistic Nutrition
The online diploma also has 59 quarter credits. The 820 clock hours are spread over 60 weeks, for a weekly average of just under 14 hours per week.
How Long Is Escoffier’s Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Program?
Total Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Degree Length: 60 weeks
Offered online, Escoffier’s Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Restaurant Operations Management is designed to help prepare students for careers as leaders in a wide range of hospitality businesses, from hotels to restaurants to event venues.
In 60 weeks, students can explore topics like event operations, facilities management, psychology, service standards, and much more. This program includes 90 quarter credits spread over 1,020 clock hours, for about 17 course hours per week.
“A major benefit of studying at Escoffier is the program flexibility. Working students can find time to complete their coursework around their schedule. Escoffier has invested in technology to keep students in contact with their Instructors—help is just a text message or phone call away.”
Maria Davenport, Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management Lead Instructor*
Where Does the Externship Fit In?
All Escoffier programs include either one or two externships as part of their graduation requirements. These short-term work placements let students explore a segment of the industry that they hope to work in.
Externship requirements vary from program to program, but those hour requirements are included in the overall program length. So hospitality and restaurant operations management students, for example, are expected to complete their externships within their overall 60 week program.
Finish School in as Little as Seven Months!
With programs ranging from 30 to 84 weeks, you can have a degree or diploma in one of five different specialties without taking multiple years to earn them. But it’s not just about the weeks you devote to school. It’s also about the time you could potentially save in your career by focusing on a professional culinary curriculum, rather than piecing together an education on the job.
As Boulder culinary arts graduate Brent Unruh says, “You can be exposed to a lot more in a very short period of time [in culinary school]. You could spend ten years working in restaurants and not get the experience that you’re going to get working with pastries with Chef Suzanne, for instance.”*
To obtain this volume of knowledge in such a limited amount of time, the value of culinary school is pretty clear. Speak with one of our representatives to learn more about each program and to get answers to all your questions about tuition, financial aid, and more.
To learn more about culinary education, try these articles next:
- Can You Go to Culinary School with No Prior Experience?
- Who Hires Online Culinary School Graduates?
- The Pros and Cons of Vocational School: Is It Right for You?
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.
1All clock hours are based on average or expected time to complete an activity or category of activities. Some students may require more or less time to complete course requirements.