A friend's grandson graduated from CIA about 18 months ago, and that included a number of externships at notable NYC restaurants where he found places to crash with friends. Then the first job at one of those places prepping veggies and cleaning salad greens, for not much at all. Then a first job back here at a sister low-end restaurant to a nationally-acclaimed restaurant, for just a little bit more. Then a low end job at the highly acclaimed restaurant, and a little (little) bit more. Some of these jobs were off the books, and I don't think any of them had benefits.
Now he's off in San Francisco. Beat the streets and found a low end job at a high end restaurant; six months later he's moved up to being a line cook and is making enough money to pay for a very small apartment w/girlfriend & using his bike to commute. Doing some catering on the side in people's homes. He loves it, but it is a very low-income life still, and he doesn't have college debt. This job does have health insurance of some kind, and the head chef has been calling him in for extra work and special projects, so he's on a bit of a fast track.
I've had his cooking, and it is amazing. But I've no idea what he'd do if he had a bunch of college debt hanging over his head. My impression is that he's now up to the $30K a year level, which doesn't go all that far in San Francisco.
I would not go into debt for this unless you had a clear path to a job with a chain or hotel that would pay a reasonable salary, and even then I would not go far into debt.