How long does it take to become a Chef?

Becoming an engineer is usually well defined as you simply go to school, obtain your degree in engineering, and then you are an engineer. The journey to being a chef is not as lucid.

Some people get to the role of a chef before others who even started cooking way before them. This is so because there are no exams to determine who becomes a chef and who does not, hence making the path quite unclear.

To know how long it takes to become a chef, it is quite necessary to understand who a chef is, and what you need to do to become one.

How long does it take to become a Chef?

Who is a Chef?

Most people are often misled into thinking that just going to school to acquire a degree in culinary arts automatically makes you a chef.Another misleading thought is that once you know how to cook, you are a chef.

Though these “assumptions” are untrue, they are important initial steps in the series of steps in becoming a chef.

A chef is simply a person who acts as a supervisor, creates recipes, manages schedules, knows how to balance meals, understand flavor profiles, food pairing, and plating.

A chef is someone who is also able to do all the jobs as he/she has performed that role at some point in his/her career. He/she is also well drilled in the act of pricing the menu with profitability in mind and equally knows how to manage cost.

The above definitions give a full overview of what it takes to become a chef.

To become a chef, a person must have gone to a culinary school or attended a college that offers culinary arts/culinary-related programs. You have to have developed experience over a period of time as well as gradually rise to the rank of a chef.

Let’s walk through some of the steps to becoming a chef:


One of the first and basic steps to becoming a chef is obtaining a culinary degree or diploma. These degrees or diplomas go a long way in determining how long it will take for you to become a chef.

These degrees can be obtained in various colleges and culinary schools across the globe. The length of your degree or diploma often affects your path to becoming a chef.

  • Diploma or Certificate: This is usually obtained in culinary schools/institutes, and takes you into entry-level positions. It usually takes about 6-12 months to complete.
  • Degree Programs: This is usually obtained in colleges, with associate degrees taking 2 years and bachelor’s degrees taking 4years. Master degrees can last as long as 6years.

Read this: Top Culinary Schools in Illinois (Major tips and Info)


Securing your first culinary job is a stepping stone experience-wise on your quest to becoming a chef. You will usually start as a prep cook whose job is to chop, weigh and prepare ingredients for the line cooks.


After securing your first culinary job you will usually rise up gradually pending on how fast you learn and impress the chef you are under.

You will usually rise from prep cook to line cook to lead line cook and then to sous chef.

Despite the sous chef having a chef in their name, you are not really a chef yet. You need to rise up to the rank of an executive chef, who eventually calls the shots as the sous chef is more or less just a right-hand man.

Becoming an executive chef might often require you to work at a new kitchen that has no executive chef or may require the resignation of the existing executive chef where you already work.


Finally, being a chef depends on various factors, hence the length also depends on lots of factors.

One important factor that can not be overemphasized is education as acquiring knowledge in a culinary school is essential if you desire to be a chef.

Furthermore, how quickly you learn can also determine how rapidly or how slowly you become a chef.

Read this: Culinary Schools in Ohio (Major tips and details)

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Franklin Izuekwe
Franklin Izuekwe

Hello, I am Franklin! For two years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, Asia and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am a content writer at

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