All students will be required to devote a semester to furthering their skills in an extern position. Externship is a full-time commitment of a minimum of 14 weeks or 550 hours of full-time work at a CIA-approved location. A satisfactory evaluation of the experience or applicable transfer credit is required for students to receive their degree.

The externship program is administered under the auspices of the Center for Career and Academic Advising at the Hyde Park, NY campus.

Externship information in this section also applies to the CIA Singapore, with the following distinctions. Students who enter the bachelor's program in Singapore from a non-relevant diploma program must complete the CIA Externship course following the completion of the final semester of academic classes ("top-up" module semester). Students who have entered the CIA Singapore with a relevant diploma must participate in a non-graded professional bridge semester. Training agreements for both the externship and professional bridge must be returned to the managing director no later than the third week of the final semester of course work. CIA Singapore students who do not have additional courses to complete must submit the Professional Bridge Training Agreement prior to the 10th week of the fourth semester.

Externship Planning

Externship is considered a requirement, and all students must successfully complete two externship career planning sessions prior to their externship semester.

Students should begin exploring externship possibilities well in advance to make sure they have secured a position and submitted a training agreement. They must select an externship site from an established list of approved sites. A student may not complete an externship at a site owned by a member of that student's family. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with these employers and obtain a position as an extern. The Center for Career and Academic Advising staff will assist as needed. Externship candidates in the U.S. who have not provided this office with a signed training agreement from an approved externship site within the first three weeks of the semester prior to the start of the externship will be officially withdrawn. (See Withdrawal from the CIA.)

Prerequisites for Externship

To begin externship, students must have received a passing grade for:

  • ServSafe® certification (CUSC-100A or CUSC-105A)
  • Culinary Practical Examination I (Written Exam) (CULS-152), or Baking and Pastry Practical Examination I (BAKE-151)

Students who fail their practical examination(s) will be notified immediately by the faculty member administering the examination and the Registrar's Office. Students must make arrangements with Student Financial and Registration Services to retake the exam by the end of the semester. They must pass these exams to begin their externship.

Acceptance of an Externship

Once a student has communicated acceptance of an externship verbally or in writing to the employer, this is viewed as a binding commitment on the student's part to complete the experience. Failure to follow through with the agreement may result in a grade of "F."

An "F" grade will not be assigned if:

  • A viable reason is presented in writing to the Center for Career and Academic Advising staff and property chef for not completing the externship—personal or family illness, or other circumstances beyond the student's control.
  • The student informs the supervisor at the externship site of the change in plans, and obtains a letter from the supervisor that indicates acceptance of the student's decision not to begin work at the site. A Center for Career and Academic Advising staff member will then contact the supervisor to verbally confirm that acceptance.

Externship Completion

To receive credit for the course of Externship, a student must be properly registered, which includes financial and academic clearance granted through SFRS and having submitted a signed training agreement to the Center for Career and Academic Advising indicating 14 weeks or 550 hours at an approved site. No credit will be given for any time worked prior to registration for the course.

To pass the course of Externship, students must achieve a passing evaluation from their externship supervisor, submit all externship assignments on time for grading, and receive a passing grade for these assignments.

Students will receive an "F" grade and may be required to repeat the externship if they:

  • Fail to complete a minimum of 14 weeks or 550 hours of full-time work at a CIA-approved site,
  • Work at an establishment that has not been approved for externship,
  • Fail to submit satisfactory work in the form of their externship ePortfolio and support materials, or
  • Are terminated from their externship or leave voluntarily. In addition to receiving an "F" grade, they will also be withdrawn from the CIA.

Any student who fails or withdraws while out on externship must complete a second externship before returning to campus. If a student returns to campus, submits the manual, and receives an "F" on the manual, then the student may complete that current semester and repeat the course of Externship before advancing to the next semester.

Students must make arrangements with the Center for Career and Academic Advising and Student Financial and Registration Services if they need to make up a failed externship. The fee to make up the externship is $150.

For completion of a second externship, students must complete a minimum of 14 weeks or 550 hours of full-time work at an approved CIA externship site. Students completing a second externship are required to choose a different approved externship location than where they went the first time. There is no grace period for the makeup of a second externship.

NOTE: If a student fails Externship, the externship ePortfolio may be resubmitted at the discretion of the faculty and a fee will be charged. See Fees That May Be Assessed.

Returning from Externship

The Culinary Institute of America requires all students to return on their scheduled return date from externship. Students who fail to return as scheduled will be withdrawn. If the college grants a student permission to return on a different date, that selected date will be based on availability. Regardless of a student's return date, the externship ePortfolio is due on the date that was assigned at the point of registration for the course. Failure to submit the ePortfolio on the assigned due date will result in five points per day deduction, which could result in failure.

Extending the length of the externship period beyond the scheduled return date may jeopardize the student's financial aid status and may adversely affect other aspects of the student's ability to return for their subsequent semester.

International Students

Per U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations, international students with an F-1 visa must complete one full academic year (two semesters) in order to be eligible to enter the course of Externship. International students will need to provide a copy of their completed Training Agreement to their designated school official (DSO) at their campus location to have their I-20 form authorized, and then obtain a Social Security card from a local Social Security Office.

International students seeking to complete their externship outside the United States should be aware that being outside the U.S. for more than five months will require a new visa application.

International students are encouraged to direct any questions regarding their F-1 visa status and their externship to the designated school official at their campus location.