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Culinary Apprenticeship


– Offered at Iowa Valley Grinnell –

This program is not currently accepting new applicants. New applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

This 3-year, part-time program includes a training program plus a 6,000-hour apprenticeship (registered with the US Department of Labor). Classes take place on Mondays at the Grinnell College catering kitchen, which allows students to work the rest of the week in the field gaining valuable experience while getting paid for their work.

The Associate of Applied Sciences (AAS) degree will be matched with a 6,000 hour registered apprenticeship with the US Department of Labor. Classroom/laboratory time is paired with paid work over three years. In addition to the AAS degree, the student will attain ‘Journeyworker’ status after program completion. Apprenticeship is the classic training method of chefs and cooks, and still used almost exclusively in Europe.


Employment of chefs, head cooks, and food preparation and serving supervisors is expects minimal growth over the 2010-20 decade. Growth will be generated by increases in population, a growing variety of dining venues, and continued demand for convenience.
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The median annual wage for chefs and head cooks was $42,480 in May 2012.

Work Environment

Chefs and head cooks work in restaurants, private households, and other establishments where food is served. They often work early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. The work can be hectic and fast paced. Most chefs and head cooks work full time.

Admission requirements

We are happy to learn of your interest in our new Culinary Apprenticeship program at Iowa Valley Grinnell. NOTE: Admission into this program is separate from admission to the College. Applicant must be 18 years or older to enter program. The first step students must take is to complete your admissions folder. Follow the steps below:

NOTICE: Applicants must fill out BOTH forms below (#1 and #2)

  1. Application for college admission completed
  2. Application for the Culinary Apprenticeship program completed
  3. Official high school transcript or high school equivalency diploma required (send to MCC Admissions Office, 3700 South Center Street, Marshalltown, Iowa 50158).
  4. Official transcripts from other colleges you have attended, if applicable (send to Admissions Office).
  5. Take or submit ACT or ACCUPLACER. Fax scores to 641 236-0036. Or email scores to To determine scores needed for remediation, consult Student Success Specialist.
  6. Each applicant must also submit a 300 word essay entitled, “Why I Want to be a Chef.” (email to
  7. After all materials are submitted, there will be an interview scheduled with the Culinary Apprenticeship Committee held on the Iowa Valley Grinnell campus.
  8. Prospective apprentices who qualify will be notified and scheduled to meet with Student Success Specialist (advisor) for direction regarding financial aid, class scheduling, etc.
  9. If you’re not currently working in the occupation, we will assist you with an Apprenticeship placement.