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Researching Cooking Schools
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you wish to earn, and whether or not you would like to enroll in a public or private college. Since there are numerous cooking colleges in the Daphne area and across the USA, you need to develop a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can start limiting your options. Certain obvious qualifiers, such as cost and location are a good place to start. But selecting a school because it is the closest or the least expensive is not the optimal way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other variables, for example reputation and accreditation that you should review as well. Therefore, following are some critical areas that you will need to investigate for every school as you compare them and make your final decision.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary institute you choose has some type of accreditation from either a local or a national authority. As previously stated, the accrediting authority should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized authority, for example the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have passed a thorough review pertaining to their curriculum, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help establish that you will receive excellent training, but it may also help in securing a student loan or financial assistance which are generally not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools frequently have the advantage of having modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been operating long enough to garner an accreditation or to establish a reputation. On the other hand, more established schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a long history of excellence and obtained one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has operated, the more alumni the school can solicit for its job placement program. Certainly there is some give and take dependent on the age of the culinary arts schools. And older, more renowned schools usually update their facilities and equipment. The significant lesson is that in the best case scenario, your school of choice will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, find out what the graduation rates are for the cooking colleges you are looking at. Lower graduation rates are indicators that a number of students were dissatisfied with either the colleges or the training and dropped out. They might also signify that the teachers were not competent to teach the course of study. Ask the schools to provide their job placement rates also. If a school has a high job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a great or outstanding reputation within the culinary field, in addition to a broad network of professional relationships. Be wary of any school that will not supply this information.
Location. The culinary arts institute that you enroll in must be within commuting distance of your Daphne residence, unless you can relocate. You may think about attending college online, but you would still need to travel for your externship training. Conversely, maybe you have opted to attend a particular culinary college located in another state because of its reputation and courses offered. It would be a wise decision to check out the campus before enrolling, to make sure that you are satisfied with the area and your potential living conditions. Tour the training facilities personally to make certain they are modern and that the equipment is contemporary. Consider also that a number of schools concentrate their job placement programs within their local communities, so select a location where you will be happy working.
Class Sizes. The ideal method to learn how to cook is with lots of personalized training. If the cooking institute you enroll in has large classes, you will probably get limited individual attention from the teachers. The best manner in which to assess the interaction between instructors and students is to attend a few of the classes. Ask some of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are satisfied with the level of attention they get in class as well as the entire course of training. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and determine what their teaching styles are as well as their experiences and credentials.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a culinary program if you will be unable to attend the classes. So make sure that the school you pick offers class scheduling that can fit in with your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend in the evening or on Saturdays or Sundays near Daphne AL due to your job schedule, make certain that the school you select offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the culinary program has a part-time option. Also, ask what the make-up protocol is if you must miss a class due to family, work or other responsibilities.