Culinary Arts Degree Programs
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Athens Alabama
Deciding to become a chef and enrolling in a culinary college near Athens AL is a wonderful career choice. You will not only learn how to cook extraordinary meals or prepare lavish desserts, you'll also be able to make a nice income doing it. However, exactly how do you undertake selecting a culinary school once you've made your decision to enroll? What qualifications should you consider and compare among the contending cooking schools before arriving at your ultimate selection? Remember that you must pick the appropriate program and degree in order to be successful in the restaurant and hospitality fields. There are a wide range of alternatives to pick from, starting with a diploma or certificate program and advancing to attaining an undergraduate as well as a graduate degree. You may enroll in a small culinary college, an online college, or enroll in a large culinary institute that provides advanced degree programs. The kind of credential and school you choose will probably be based upon how much money and time you can afford to invest, in addition to your ultimate career objective. Once you have established what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can begin examining the culinary arts institutes that meet your preliminary qualifications. Depending upon the certification and type of culinary school you choose, you may be employed as a professional cook or chef in as little as 6 months. So before we dig more into the system of selecting a school, let's talk a little more about the degree choices that are available.
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Culinary School Degree Programs
Just as with many other fields or professions in Athens AL, there are multiple degree option programs that are available in the culinary arts. At the most elemental level, you can join a nearby cooking course, which are more informal in nature and can last from a few hours to a number of weeks. Typically a certificate or a diploma is presented after completion. They can be broad in nature, for instance teaching how to cook French meals, or they may be rather specific and focus on one dish, for instance Crepes Suzette. Of course if you are seeking a more formal education geared towards a career in the restaurant industry, you will probably choose to enroll in a degree program. With a degree program, you will be required to invest considerably more time.
- Associate's Degrees can take anywhere from six months to two years to finish.
- Bachelor's Degrees generally require as much as four years of training.
- Masters Degrees can take an added 2 years or even longer after acquiring a Bachelor's.
Additional advanced training options may be available, including Doctoral or specialized programs offered by culinary arts institutes. The most important point to keep in mind when deciding on which degree to pursue is making sure that it supplies the education and degree needed to advance your ultimate career objectives.
Cooking Online Colleges
Some potential students may discover that there are no cooking institutions that are within driving distance of their Athens AL residence. One option is to attend online training within the convenience of one's residence. The accessibility and flexibility makes it the only solution for many students that continue working full-time while going to college. Plus there are more programs online than ever that are accredited. Keep in mind that a considerable portion of the instruction will be furnished under an externship. Externships are programs where students train under regional chefs or other culinary professionals so that they receive hands-on training beyond the virtual classroom. Just make certain that the online school you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency (more on this later). And so if you are disciplined enough to be able to attend classes and study in this more independent manner, attaining a culinary arts online degree might be the right option for you.
Comparing Culinary Arts Institutions
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you want to attain, and if you would like to enroll in a private or a public college. Since there a large number of cooking institutions in the Athens area and across the Country, you need to develop a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can start limiting your choices. Certain obvious qualifications, for instance cost and location are a good place to begin. But picking a school because it is the closest or the most affordable is not the ideal way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other factors, for example accreditation and reputation that you need to evaluate as well. So below are some crucial areas that you need to research for every school as you compare them and make your ultimate decision.
Accreditation. It's essential that the culinary college you pick has some form of accreditation from either a local or a national agency. As aforementioned, the accrediting agency should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized authority, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a comprehensive assessment regarding their course of study, teachers and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive exceptional training, but it can also help in acquiring a student loan or financial aid which are generally not offered for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools often have the advantage of having modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been operating long enough to earn an accreditation or to establish a reputation. Conversely, more established schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a sustained history of excellence and acquired one or more accreditations. Also, the much more a school has been in business, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job placement program. Certainly there is some give and take dependent on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more renowned schools commonly modernize their equipment and facilities. The valuable lesson is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an outstanding reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with modern equipment.
Job Placement Rates. To begin with, ask what the graduation rates are for the cooking programs you are looking at. Lower graduation rates are signs that a number of students were unhappy with either the schools or the courses and quit before graduating. They might also indicate that the teachers were not competent to teach the curriculum. Ask the schools to furnish their job placement rates also. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help validate that it has a good or excellent reputation within the cooking community, in addition to a wide network of professional associations. Watch out for any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The culinary institute that you attend must be within commuting distance of your Athens residence, unless you are able to relocate. You may think about attending school online, but you would still need to travel for your externship training. Alternatively, perhaps you have chosen to enroll in a particular culinary institute located in a different state due to its prominence and programs offered. It would be a wise decision to check out the facility before enrolling, to make certain that you are satisfied with the location and your potential living conditions. Tour the training facilities personally to make sure they are up to date and that the equipment is contemporary. Keep in mind also that some schools concentrate their job placement programs within their regional communities, so select a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The best way to learn how to cook is with lots of personalized instruction. If the cooking program you enroll in has large classes, you will most likely get minimal individual attention from the teachers. The best way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to audit some of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are happy with the amount of attention they get in class as well as the overall training. Also, talk with several of the teachers and determine what their teaching approaches are together with their histories and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary arts school if you will not be able to attend the classes. So make certain that the school you choose offers class scheduling that will fit in with your hectic lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Athens AL because of your work schedule, confirm that the school you select offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, check that the culinary program has a part-time alternative. Also, find out what the make-up protocol is if you need to miss a class due to work, family or other obligations.
Enroll in the Best Athens Cooking School
A rewarding career in the hospitality and restaurant business is contingent upon enrolling in the ideal culinary arts school. As we have covered, there are several things that you should consider when researching schools, such as their accreditation, reputations, and training facilities. As with any career decision, you must begin by acquiring information, and the most effective method to accomplish that is by getting in touch with cooking colleges directly, either face to face or over the phone. If you're uncertain regarding which schools to consider, you may want to consider consulting with chefs in your city about any culinary institutes they recommend. Later use the Web to investigate those schools further before you contact them. By taking the time to carefully assess each of your education options, you will find yourself in a more ideal position to make an educated decision. And when you pick the right school, you will have a terrific start toward your goal of becoming a chef in Athens Alabama.