Seattle Public Schools

Programs and Career Pathways

Culinary and Hospitality Pathway

Culinary and Hospitality Pathway

Is this the right pathway for me?

  • Do you love to cook for and host other people?
  • Are you passionate about bringing joy to others?
  • Would you like to work in a fast-paced, sometimes stressful environment?

What is Culinary Arts and Hospitality?

Culinary Arts and Hospitality is the preparation, cooking, and presentation of food and meals. Many people in this field work in restaurants or hotels, as cooks or chefs, but also in roles like hosts, servers, greeters, and more. Catering is a big business that involves preparing food for large events including weddings, conventions, or meetings.

What sort of work would I do?

As a cook or chef, you will plan menus, prepare food to be used, cook and bake as well as prepare the final presentation for the customer. Waiters and hosts greet customers, take their orders, serve their food, and deliver great customer service. You might purchase food, manage inventory, or maintain equipment.

Leads to these Careers

  • Caterer
  • Certified Personal Chef
  • Chef and Head Cook
  • Dietitian and Nutritionist
  • Food Preparation Supervisor
  • Food Service Manager
  • Pastry Chef
  • Restaurant Cook or Owner
  • Sous Chef

In-Demand Occupations

Typical Education RequiredCareer TitleAverage Annual SalaryJob Outlook in WA State (2020-2030)
Less than high school Baker $40,267 18% increase 
High School Chef or Head Cook $74,730 35% increase 
Associate Degree (or Certificate) Chef or Head Cook $74,730 35% increase 
Bachelor’s Degree Dietitian or Nutritionist $77,412 21% increase 
Check Career One Stop, Bureau of Labor Statistics for updated career trends

What Courses can I take now?

Check with your school counselor and administrators to find out which classes are available at your school.

This course is an introduction to culinary arts that focuses on basic baking and pastry skills. Students learn to create and plate gourmet desserts, pastries, breads, and quick breads. They experiment with chocolate and other desserts while building basic math skills like converting measurements.  

Course numbers: HCT2457 

Certification: WA State Food Worker Card 

This introductory course covers the theory and practice of the principles of cooking, terminology, recipe development, ingredients, equipment, safety, and career development. Students learn the ins and outs of working in culinary, hospitality, and food service careers.  

Course numbers: HCT6061, HCT6062

Certification: WA State Food Worker Card 

This course is the second year of a two-year sequence of courses preparing students to enter culinary, food service and hospitality careers. Students learn advanced food preparation and presentation skills.  

Course numbers: HCT6063,HCT6064

Certification: WA State Food Worker Card 

Food Science, Dietetics and Nutrition introduces students to knowledge and practices and experiments with food production and research related to health and wellbeing. Lab activities explore food research, production, and analysis.  

Course numbers: HCT7027, HCT7028 

Certification: WA State Food Worker Card 

 This course focuses on eating and nutritional habits formed in families, paving the way to lifelong health and wellbeing across a lifespan. Students learn how to healthfully plan meals, choose nutritious foods. Students learn principals of life cycle nutrition and how physical activity, digestion, and metabolism impact the body.  

Course numbers: CSC2227 or HCT2227

Certification: WA State Food Worker Card 

Clubs and Activities at SPS

Interested in learning more about culinary and hospitality? SPS students have the opportunity to deepen and expand their knowledge alongside their peers through Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). FCCLA hosts competitive events, provides leadership opportunities, and helps students prepare for career and college. Find a chapter at your school here

What training do I need after high school?

Depending on the career track you are most interested, in, your training after high school may vary. We recommend that students interested in culinary at a minimum pursue some post-secondary training (associate’s degree or certificate) to make them more competitive for positions in a restaurant setting. Below are examples of programs of study for students after high school: 

Certificate or Associate’s Degree at Seattle Central College or South Seattle College – Free tuition available to Seattle Public Schools graduates through Seattle Promise, these well-respected Culinary Arts Programs expand students’ culinary horizons. Students learn to prepare menus, create dishes and use cutting-edge culinary technology. Students at South Seattle College learn fundamentals of Asian cuisines, pastries, butchery, and much more! Interested students should apply early (during summer following 11th grade) to reserve their spot in the cohort, as this program fills up quickly. This is a ~2 year commitment and includes kitchen fees for each course.  

Culinary Institute of America Widely regarded as the top culinary institute in the United States, Culinary Institute of America has campuses all over the country and globally. CIA offers Associate Degrees, Masters Degrees, Certificates, and More. Explore their course offerings to get an idea of the trainings that are available to you. Training at CIA is quite costly, and careful consideration of the pros and cons should be taken into account before students pursue this course of study. 

Other Regional Programs —  Bates Technical College, Bellingham Technical College, Clark College, Columbia Basin College, Edmonds Community College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Olympic College, Skagit Valley College, Washington State University 

Explore the right fit post-secondary pathway for you using the SuperMatch college feature on Naviance

More questions? Contact Susan Grant at!