Best Culinary Schools In Montana | Cost, Requirement & How To Apply

Montana culinary schools offer certificate programs and an applied science degree. The purpose of the certificate program is to prepare students for entry-level positions in the growing foodservice industry.

The goal of the program is to combine hands-on learning experiences with additional courses to prepare students for the various employment opportunities in the discipline.

Are There Culinary Schools in Montana? 

There are four schools in Montana that offer culinary programs. They give you the opportunity to earn a certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree in culinary arts.

An average acceptance rate of 93% gives you a good chance of getting into the program you are interested in. Getting an education in Montana can be very affordable, with an average tuition cost of $5,659. Additionally, the average scholarship in Montana is $2,872.

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How Much Do Culinary Schools Cost in Montana? 

Culinary school now typically costs over $30,000. For most students, this is a high price that will force many students to use financial aid.

When looking at culinary school tuition, consider whether the dollar amount covers the entire degree program or just a portion of it.

In many cases, this is not the same as the annual tuition you would find at a four-year college. Instead, culinary school tuition usually includes the cost of the entire training program.

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What Are The Requirements For Culinary Schools In Montana? 

The various culinary arts programs in Montana have a fairly similar structure. They deal with the same areas and topics. Some of the topics covered in culinary arts school include food preparation, kitchen management, food safety, and menu planning.

While all of these aspects are very important, food safety may be one of the most important topics you learn about. Restaurants are subject to random inspections that may test your knowledge of Montana food safety laws.

Failure to comply with state standards can result in fines and even the closure of the kitchen.

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What Are The Best Culinary Schools In Montana? 

University of Montana

The University of Montana offers several degree options, including an associate degree program and a certificate program. All programs are held at their Missoula campus. Of the 13,044 students, about 17% are graduate students.

The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Tuition for in-state students is likely to be around $6,238 and for out-of-state students around $23,764 per year. Study materials can cost around $1,400, although this varies by program.


Flathead Valley Community College

Flathead Valley Community College’s associate culinary program is based at their Kalispell campus in Flathead County. Most of the school’s 2,169 students are enrolled in 2-year programs. The college is institutionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Tuition for in-district students is likely to be around $4,112 and $5,486 and $11,254 for in-state and out-of-state students, respectively. Study materials can cost around $1,000, although this varies by program.


Montana State University

Known for its high research activities, Montana State University has always remained committed to academic excellence through its quality programs in various fields of study. Their goal is to equip their graduates with career-ready skills and further education.

The university often keeps classes small and cozy due to its low student-to-faculty ratio, which means professors are easily accessible and have good opportunities for hands-on learning.

This is one of the schools in Montana that offers a culinary arts program. Aspiring chefs and culinary connoisseurs in the food service industry may consider earning an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts.


Fortin Culinary Center

Initiated and supported by the Billings Food Bank, the Fortin Culinary Center offers an outreach program for adults to gain skills for permanent, better-paying employment.

Based on Robert Iger’s Washington D.C. Central Kitchens training program, the culinary skills training program takes 12 weeks. It includes ten weeks of training in the kitchen and another two weeks spent in the community with actual food service.

The latter serves as an externship to help determine placement based on student interests. They can then choose from a variety of places to work, including colleges, nursing homes, hospitals, senior centers, and even hotels and restaurants.


How Much Do Chefs In Montana Earn?

In the decade from 2016 to 2026, chef and executive chef jobs are expected to grow by 9.6 percent nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chefs expects growth of 4.2 percent over the same time period. Meanwhile, the number of jobs for Montana chefs and head chefs is expected to grow by 10.4 percent and for cooks by 5.7 percent.

Montana chefs and executive chefs have an average salary of $45,600 per year. The median annual salary for chefs is $23,797.

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How Do I Become A Chef In Montana?

People who wish to become chefs as their careers progress should consider becoming ACF certified. Although this certification is not mandatory, it can give chefs an advantage when hiring for a new job.

ACF offers nine levels of certification, from Certified Basic Chef to Certified Master Chef, and successful completion of each level will depend in part on culinary education and work experience.

Depending on the needs of the employer and local regulations, if any, food handlers may be required to attend a ServSafe course or similar training.

Cooks and chefs can work anywhere that serves food, depending on their experience. These opportunities include schools, hospitals and other institutions, restaurants, fast food establishments and hotels, among others.

The richest job opportunities and highest salaries are likely to be in large cities such as Billings, Montana. Popular ski resorts can also provide a wide selection.

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What Are The Best Paying Culinary Arts Jobs in Montana

Fortunately, the number of culinary schools in Montana is inversely proportional to the number of cafes, diners, delis, restaurants, hotels and resorts that are constantly in need of skilled staff.

The local tourism industry is supported by two world-famous destinations: Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. These two industries alone provide numerous jobs in hospitality and cooking.

The state’s major centers of Missoula, Billings, and Great Falls also have dining facilities, schools, and dining options.

Graduates are likely to find employment at any of Montana’s thousands of restaurants, resorts, schools, and hotels. Typical food industry salaries in Montana vary by job title, city, and experience.

A waiter/waitress will earn an average annual salary of $21,900; a registered dietitian earns $52,030; a first line manager will earn around $36,320; a chef will earn approximately $52,340; and a restaurant chef earns an average salary of about $27,320.

Best Culinary Schools In Montana FAQs

What Is The Requirement To Become A Chef In Montana?

There are no requirements to become a chef in Montana. In many cases, having a high school diploma or GED, previous culinary experience, and an American Culinary Federation (ACF) certification can help aspiring chefs land more competitive jobs.

Do You Need License To Work As A Chef In Montana?

Montana, like almost every other state in the country, has no licensing or certification requirements for chefs and cooks. This is great for you because you don’t have to worry about another step early in your career. However, you can apply for American Culinary Federation certification if you believe it will help your career. You can choose a specific topic and level of knowledge and then get a license.

Are There Culinary Schools in Montana? 

Although there are only a handful of culinary schools in Montana, luckily the number of schools is inversely related to employment opportunities. The state has a significant number of resorts, hotels, restaurants, delicatessens, eateries and cafes, where there are always vacancies for staff.


Most students who earn degrees from Montana culinary schools go on to careers as chefs. If you plan to work in Montana after graduation, know that the employment opportunity in Montana is very good. The estimated number of chefs currently working in Montana is more than 4,000 and is expected to grow by approximately 13 percent through 2018.



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