3 Charts That Answer the Question: “Should I Go to Culinary School?

(Image credit: National Center for Education Statistics via Eater)

The question may have crossed your mind at some point: I love food, so should I go to culinary school? I’ve had many people ask me this question over the course of my career, and as someone who didn’t go to culinary school, I don’t quite know what to say, other than, uh, maybe? Now, thanks to Eater and the National Center for Education Statistics, I have a much better answer. No.

Culinary school is incredibly expensive — nearly matching swanky private universities, and dwarfing public universities, which can be a third of the cost. These three charts show those costs, as well as the proportional payoff of the job you’re likely to have after graduating from culinary school.

It’s hard to make these numbers work, folks. Which is why I usually recommend apprenticing or doing a stage in a restaurant before (or instead of) heading into such a pricey investment.