If you’re wondering whether culinary school credits can transfer to another institution, the most straightforward answer is that it depends. That might not be the straightforward answer you were hoping for, but the truth is, every culinary school and 4-year university has different standards when it comes to handling transfer credits, and a lot of them look at transfer credits on a case-by-case basis. There are, however, some common situations that apply with transfer credits, so I’ll go over those situations and some of the schools where you might see them.
An associate degree in culinary arts can put you on an accelerated track for a Bachelor’s of Arts. Entering a school like the New England Culinary Institute with an associate degree in hand can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes you to earn your BA in Culinary Arts. If you’ve already earned an associate degree in culinary arts from an accredited school, you can apply for advanced standing, which means you’ll have your first- and second-year program requirements waived.
Transfer credits are not accepted. Unfortunately, some prestigious institutions won’t let you transfer credits, even if they were for similar coursework. The Culinary Institute of America, for example, does not allow students to transfer credits for culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, or hospitality and service management. They do allow the transfer of some business and liberal arts credits, but this is on a case-by-case basis.
The school you’re transferring to will work with you to maximize your transfer credits. Some schools, like Chicago’s Kendall College, know that many of their students are transferring in with some college or culinary school credits, and they’ll have advisors work with each new student to maximize their number of transfer credits. This can significantly accelerate a student’s timeline for their degree and can save them money by cutting down the number of years they’ll have to pay tuition.
Credits are transferred on a case-by-case basis. Some 4-year colleges, like Lamar University, will decide to award transfer credit once a program chair evaluates the coursework from an accredited culinary arts institute. If your transfer credits are accepted at Lamar, you can apply them towards a 4-year Hospitality degree or a 2-year Culinary Arts degree.
Transfer credits for comparable courses are accepted. The New England Culinary Institute also accepts transfer credits for courses that are comparable to their own, as long as you got a C or better and took the class within the last 10 years. Of course, with all schools that accept transfer credits, there’s likely to be a limit to the number of transfer credits you can apply towards your degree—you probably won’t be able to transfer over enough credits to just take one more course and get a Bachelor’s degree, for example.
Two schools are partners and have a transfer credit program. This scenario isn’t as common as some of the others, but it’s becoming a more popular option as the demand for both a college degree and real-world skills increases. The International Culinary Center partners with the New School to allow you to transfer up to 60 culinary arts credits (equivalent to two years of full-time college courses) towards a Bachelor’s degree in a related field.
If you’re considering transferring schools or will be completing an associate’s degree and want to go on to get your Bachelor’s, now is the time to start looking into whether your credits can transfer. Here are a few steps you should take:
- Consider why you are transferring. Have you completed a 2-year degree and want to continue your education? Are you at a school that specializes in culinary arts but want to transfer to a traditional 4-year college? Evaluate the costs and benefits of transferring to make sure that it’s the right choice for you at this time.
- Review the program requirements for the institution to which you’ll be transferring. Do they require courses that are very comparable to ones you have already taken?
- Review the website for your transfer school to see if they outline their transfer credit policy.
- If you’re unsure whether your credits will transfer, contact the Office of Admissions at your transfer school and ask.
- If your transfer school will accept your credits, you will likely need to send them an official transcript from any institutions that you’ve completed coursework at. This can take a little more time and effort if you’ve attended multiple schools, so make sure you’re setting aside time to contact each institution and get your transcript.
About the Author
Juliana Weiss-Roessler runs Weiss-Roessler Writing with her husband Josh. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as Yahoo.com, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People. Along with her husband, Juliana lives in Austin, TX, with their two tiny-but-rambunctious dogs and one tiny-but-rambunctious baby boy. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.