Sous chef

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How to become a Sous Chef

Some sous chefs might be able to start in a kitchen as a prep worker or line cook without any training or education and work their way up to a sous chef position, but most have a degree in the culinary arts. The steps to becoming a sous chef include:

  1. Obtain a bachelor's degree in the culinary arts either at a four-year university or a stand-alone culinary arts school with focused programs.
  2. Complete an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship can work in addition to a school training program or in place of formal schooling. The American Culinary Federation sponsors apprenticeship programs all around the country and combines classroom instruction with experience in the kitchen.
  3. Get your certification. Certification is not necessary, but it shows that you have a higher level of training and professionalism. It can also be a benefit if you want to work in a high-end restaurant. Most sous chefs complete the ServeSafe certification, which takes just over an hour.
  4. Look for job opportunities. Job opportunities for sous chefs are found at restaurants, hotels and private companies.

What skills help Sous Chefs find jobs?

  • Culinary Experience
  • Cooking Experience
  • Restaurant Experience
  • Kitchen Experience
  • Kitchen Management Experience
  • Leadership Experience
  • Catering Experience
  • Management Experience
  • Food Preparation Experience
  • Food Handling
  • Mentoring
  • Organizational Skills

Career progression for Sous Chef

Education levels for Sous Chefs

0%18%18%64%Master's DegreeBachelor's DegreeAssociate's DegreeHigh School Diploma or GED

Based on the requirements of Sous Chef job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.

Expected salary by experience

0-44-88-1212-1616-2020-24Years of experience41k42k44k45k47kAnnual salary in USD

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as a Sous Chef in the United States within the last three years.

Common qualifications for Sous Chefs

  • ServSafe
  • Food Handler Certification
  • Food Safety Certification
  • TIPS
  • Driver's License
  • First Aid Certification
  • CPR Certification
  • BLS Certification
Frequently asked questions
Common questions about career advices for a Sous Chef

Is there room for advancement as a sous chef?

Many sous chefs work their way into an executive chef position. The industry usually promotes from within, so if you log time in the kitchen and prove your worth and talent, you can work up to a higher position.

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What are the most important skills a sous chef needs to have?

Along with a passion for food and the knowledge to prepare it, a sous chef needs leadership and management skills. You also need to have organizational skills and the ability to work under pressure.

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What is the job outlook for sous chefs?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, sous chef jobs will grow by 11% in the next ten years.

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How can sous chefs increase their salaries?