Career Opportunities

An education from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) offers students unparalleled career opportunity in an industry that generates an estimated $799 billion in annual sales in the United States. In 2017, 14.7 million people are projected to be employed in the foodservice business, making it the nation's second-largest private-sector employer, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

The CIA is represented around the world by more than 50,000 alumni who achieve success across a wide range of careers. They become executive chefs, personal chefs, restaurant and business owners, media personalities, restaurant and hotel chain executives, food writers, research chefs, food and beverage executives, and culinary educators and work in all segments of the foodservice and hospitality industry.

Some graduates of the CIA associate degree programs in culinary arts and baking and pastry arts enter the industry as entry-level cooks, bakers, or pastry cooks for restaurants, hotels, country clubs, retail bakeries, and institutions; others choose jobs in dining room service, catering, food research, or kitchen supervision. Still others choose to enroll in the college's bachelor's degree programs in food business management to expand their career possibilities to include business management and staff management positions, as well as business ownership, communications, marketing, sales, and more. In addition, bachelor's in culinary science graduates can pursue careers in research and development; work for large foodservice operations such as hospitals, schools, and military organizations; serve as field representatives; use science for creative impetus as a restaurant chef; and more. Graduates of the bachelor's in applied food studies program are positioned to pursue opportunities in food media and communications, food education, food policy, innovative startups working in sustainable food practices, non-profit advocacy groups, and more. Bachelor's in hospitality management graduates are well-positioned to pursue leadership and management positions in hotel food and beverage operations; sales and marketing; restaurant and managed services; events and catering; and many other hospitality industry segments. And graduates of the bachelor's in culinary arts and baking and pastry programs can work in entry-level positions in a variety of industry segments, including catering management, university or corporate dining, research and development, food media, retirement community management, farm-to-table/agricultural product development, and public health and wellness. They may also become entrepreneurs, private chefs, maîtres d'hôtel, or grocery and retail chefs.

Graduates of the Master of Professional Studies in Food Business degree program can pursue management level positions in restaurants or other foodservice or food and beverage product organizations. With experience in the food industry or related businesses, graduates will be well prepared with the skills to launch their own food industry business as entrepreneurs, or to move into higher level leadership positions within a food industry organization in areas such as innovation, operations, marketing, or finance.

Graduates of the Master of Professional Studies in Sustainable Food Systems degree program can pursue positions such as agricultural specialist, environmental lobbyist, farmer advocate, food and/or nutrition educator, food writer, product developer, sustainability program manager, innovation manager, registered dietitian, farm-to-table program director, and policy director.

Graduates of Master of Professional Studies in Wine Management can pursue such positions as food and beverage manager, retail wine and beverage buyer, specialty tasting room associate, or wine steward in fine dining and multi-unit restaurants. With experience, a graduate can become a wine and beverage sales representative in wholesale distribution, work as a beverage director in fine dining, or take on other positions within the food, beverage, and winery segments.

Graduates of the Accelerated Culinary Arts Certificate Program gain hands-on culinary skill and knowledge to complement their bachelor's degree in hospitality management, food science, nutrition, or a closely related field. The program prepares them for a multitude of opportunities such as cook, research assistant, restaurant assistant manager, and other entry-level positions.

CIA programs are not designed to lead to positions, occupations, trades, or career fields that require licensing in the state of California.  View a list of typical positions held by CIA graduates from the California campus.