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Culinary Schools in Atlanta

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., Atlanta is filled with opportunity for students who want to enter the booming restaurant industry. Culinary schools in Atlanta certainly offer numerous real-world options for working with the best of the best, from celebrity chefs to down-home staples that have become famous.

Culinary Arts

Atlanta celebrates good food and drink every year with a wide variety of events, including the Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, held every year in June, and the Atlanta Street Food Festival, which brings food trucks together in July. In addition to the down-home southern traditions, the city is also home to restaurants driven by celebrity chefs, as well as a huge array of ethnic restaurants along the popular Buford Highway.

In the wider state of Georgia, you can find many culinary claims to fame: The famous Georgia peach is grown here, as are Vidalia onions, plenty of pecans, and peanuts -- which are most often served boiled and hot. Fried foods, including chicken and okra, tend to be menu staples in even the trendiest of restaurants. Georgia is also home to a mean barbecue, with pork being the meat of choice. And finally, the most popular culinary offering to come out of Atlanta has become a modern staple: Coca-Cola. The drink was sold for five cents a glass in 1886, and a humble nine servings per day were served in Atlanta during the first year. Today, 1.9 billion servings of Coca-Cola are poured daily. That's definitely a Georgia success story.

Famous restaurants in Atlanta

Opportunities abound for graduates of culinary schools in Atlanta, including work at some of the hottest restaurants in the state. Here are a few of the places that draw locals and visitors to sample the fine cooking.

  • The Varsity: Sure, it's kind of a dive, but it's awesome. With a history that dates back to 1928, The Varsity bills itself as the largest drive-in restaurant in the world. It has plenty of room for 600 cars and 800 people, as well as its own lingo. Feeding that many people means a world-class volume of food, including 300 gallons of chili, 5,000 fried pies and much more -- made fresh every day.
  • The Busy Bee Cafe: Another staple of the city, this little cafe opened in 1947 and continues to top "best food" lists across the nation. Proud connoisseurs of Southern cuisine, fried chicken and barbecue ribs are tops on the menu, and the restaurant is considered the home of the famous "meat and three." Luscious cobblers round out the reasonably priced menu.
  • Ted's Montana Grill: Founded by Ted Turner -- the same man who founded CNN and once owned the Atlanta Braves -- this unique restaurant chain is known for an innovative menu and dedication to the environment. Not your average burger joint, there are dozens of locations in the U.S., with three of those in Atlanta.
  • Mary Mac's Tea Room: In 2011, the Georgia House of Representatives officially declared this restaurant "Atlanta's Dining Room." The last of the 16 original tea rooms that called Atlanta home in the 1940's, it's a haven for celebrities and offers many famous options, including fried okra, 'pot likker' and sweet tea.

Culinary schools & career outlook for Atlanta

Why consider an Atlanta culinary school? This booming city has developed into one of the top metropolitan areas in the U.S. Graduates of culinary schools in Atlanta can step into a rich tradition of good, simple food. According to the National Restaurant Association, Georgia was home to over 16,000 eating and drinking establishments in 2015, bringing in over 17 billion in sales and providing jobs for almost 422,000 people statewide. By 2025, that number is expected to rise by a healthy 21.1 percent.

In Atlanta, business looks good all across the board, with a 4.6 percent increase in overall employment from 2014 to 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth means more people moving to the area, which in turn means a higher demand for dining establishments. The pay is good, too -- most positions in restaurants tend to pay a higher wage in Atlanta than they do in the state overall. Here's what culinary graduates can expect from the mean annual wage of the most common jobs in the restaurant industry in Atlanta:

  • Food prep supervisors: $29,670
  • Restaurant cooks: $23,730
  • Bartenders: $20,830
  • Host or hostess: $17,930
  • Dining room attendants: $19,320
  • Waiter or waitress: $19,140

The job outlook for those in the culinary industry is robust. According to Projections Central, the following job growth is expected for culinary positions in Georgia from 2012 to 2022:

  • Food prep supervisors: 14%
  • Restaurant cooks: 14.2%
  • Bartenders: 27.5%
  • Chefs and head cooks: 14.3%
  • Waiters and waitresses: 11.1%
  • Host or hostess: 7.8%
  • Dining room attendants: 25%

In addition to these great options, graduates of culinary schools in Atlanta can spread their wings in any number of related positions, including that of baker, pastry chef, restaurant manager, catering, and even hotel management. No matter what the choice of career, Atlanta is a booming city that holds a great deal of promise for graduates of culinary schools.

Sources:

  • About Us: Coca-Cola History, https://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/about-us/coca-cola-history/
  • Atlanta Area Employment -- February 2015, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/news-release/areaemployment_atlanta.htm
  • Long Term Occupational Projections, Georgia, Projections Central, https://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  • Mary Mac's Tea Room, http://www.marymacs.com/about-us
  • Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2014 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_12060.htm#35-0000
  • State Statistics: Georgia, National Restaurant Association, http://www.restaurant.org/Downloads/PDFs/State-Statistics/2015/GA_Restaurants2015
  • Ted's Montana Grill, https://www.tedsmontanagrill.com/index.html
  • The Busy Bee Cafe, http://www.thebusybeecafe.com/en/
  • The Varsity, http://www.thevarsity.com/index.php

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Atlanta

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Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
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  • Offers programs in psychology/social work, business management, medical billing, criminal justice, and more.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
  • Accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC).
  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
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  • Has been training students for creative careers since 1921.
  • Provides interactive course materials and unique approaches to curriculum that  support multiple learning styles.
  • Offers a 10% scholarship to eligible active duty, active and drilling members of the Reserve and National Guard. 
  • Its accelerated online courses allow students to learn new course material every 5 ½ weeks.
  • Accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
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  • Transferable Credits
  • Dedicated to providing a hands-on, career-focused education since 1953.
  • Offers classes online, as well as at 14 campuses across California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois and Virginia.
  • Develops curriculum with input from employers, subject matter experts.
  • Has small class sizes to promote one-on-one, student-teacher interaction.
  • Makes no-cost tutoring available in every subject to every enrolled student.
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  • Accredited
  • Accelerated Programs
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  • Offers classes built around small teams, so students get personal, one-on-one skills training.
  • Has 100 campuses— many of which are on or near public transportation routes.
  • Provides trained student finance planners to assist students seeking financial aid.
  • Incorporates hands-on training into all programs to provide students with important experience.
  • Provides day, evening, and weekend classes. (Classes offered may vary by location.)
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  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
  • Has over 350 employees who provide personalized, one-on-one live student support.
  • Partnered with AmeriCorps to create the Segal AmeriCorps education award that pays up to $5,500 towards tuition.
  • Provides 100% tuition assistance for military service members who qualify.
  • Offers JANET, the Job Assistance Network that covers instruction on résumé writing, cover letters and weekly job leads for up to three years.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC).
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  • A private university founded in 1939.  
  • Part of an international network of Assemblies of God colleges and universities.
  • Offers bachelor’s programs that give students the option to take one 7-week course at a time and complete their degree in as few as 36 months.
  • Provides 18 month programs for a master of arts in organizational leadership, digital media, and more.
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  • A cosmetology and beauty educator since 1935, with 98 beauty and cosmetology schools all over the US.
  • Employs many green initiatives on their campuses.
  • Has a professional clinic on each campus, run by senior-level students under supervision of licensed educators.
  • Offers a variety of beauty programs and cosmetology courses including cosmetology, esthetics, make-up artistry, and cosmetology educator training.
  • Accredited by the National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts and Sciences (NACCAS).
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•     Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and Best Online MBA Programs in 2015 by U.S. News & World Report.

•     Listed among The Princeton Review’s 2015 Best Midwestern Colleges.

•     Student-to-faculty ratio of 11:1, with most classes ranging from 10 to 19 students.

•     Online library offers 75,000 e-Books, 90,000 full-text electronic journals, and 101 databases services, available 24/7.

•     Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).

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  • Ranked 21st among the Best National Universities in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Offers online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in health systems administration, international health, and more.
  • Instructs with a blend of interactive online class sessions, social connections between peers and faculty, and real-world clinical experiences.
  • Houses a multimillion-dollar research program that receives funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, The Commonwealth Fund, and more.
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  • Ranked among the 2015 Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Designated as a Military Friendly School every year since 2012 by Victory Media.
  • Offers credit for prior learning and experience through assessment tests.
  • Provides a short term Leadership Certification program in partnership with EQUIP®.
  • Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
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  • Transferable Credits
  • A Los Angeles-based private college offering programs in medical sciences, legal studies, and graphic design since 1985.
  • Has weekend programs, including certified  veterinary technology, nurse assistant, and hemodialysis technician.
  • Showcases visual communication students’ artwork and design through campus magazine.
  • 3 campuses in Southern California.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Online Courses
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
  • Provides a 24/7 myCampusLink system that lets students access their records, e-mail, communicate with faculty, and more.
  • Designated a 2014 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
  • Offers career education in nursing, dental, business, information technology, and more. 
  • Has 44 campus locations across 15 states, with online options as well.
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  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
  • Several institutional scholarship opportunities are available to students who qualify.
  • Features several learning model options, including online, residency, and hybrid options.
  • Offers graduate degree programs in organizational leadership, mind-body medicine, psychology and human science.
  • Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
  • Three teaching locations in Seattle, Washington and Houston, Texas, with the university headquarters located in San Francisco, California.
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  • Online Courses

Other Atlanta, Georgia Culinary Schools

School Name Programs Offered
Georgia State University School of Hospitality Administration Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Hospitality