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Contrasting Cooking Institutes
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you wish to earn, and whether or not you want to enroll in a private or a public college. Since there a large number of cooking schools in the Huntsville area and across the Country, you need to create a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can start limiting your choices. A few obvious qualifiers, such as cost and location are an excellent place to start. But deciding on a school because it is the closest or the cheapest is not the best way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other factors, for example accreditation and reputation that you need to evaluate also. So following are some key areas that you should investigate for each school as you compare and contrast them and make your final selection.
Accreditation. It's very important that the cooking program you choose has some type of accreditation from either a regional or a national authority. As aforementioned, the accrediting organization should be a U.S. Department of Education certified agency, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough evaluation relating to their course of study, instructors and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help confirm that you will receive quality training, but it can also assist in obtaining a student loan or financial aid which are generally not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools frequently have the benefit of having modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been open long enough to acquire an accreditation or to establish a reputation. Conversely, more established schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a long history of excellence and obtained one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has been in business, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job assistance program. Obviously there is some give and take based on the age of the culinary arts schools. And older, more highly regarded schools usually modernize their equipment and facilities. The significant takeaway 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. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the cooking institutions you are reviewing. Low graduation rates are indicators that a number of students were dissatisfied with either the schools or the programs and quit before graduating. They may also indicate that the teachers were not competent to teach the course of study. Ask the schools to supply their job placement rates as well. If a college has a higher job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a great or excellent reputation within the culinary arts field, in addition to a broad network of professional connections. Be wary of any school that will not supply this information.
Location. The culinary institute that you enroll in must be within commuting distance of your Huntsville home, unless you can move. You may think about attending college online, but you would still have to travel for your externship training. Alternatively, perhaps you have chosen to go to a specific culinary arts institute located in another state due to its prominence and programs offered. It would be a wise decision to check out the campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are satisfied with the area and your prospective living conditions. Tour the training facilities in person to make sure they are modern and that the equipment is contemporary. Consider also that some schools target their job placement programs within their regional communities, so pick a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The ideal method to learn how to cook is with a lot of personalized instruction. If the culinary arts program you enroll in has bigger classes, you will undoubtedly get limited individual attention from the instructors. The best manner in which to assess the communication and interaction between instructors and students is to attend several of the classes. Ask some of the students what their experience has been. Find out if they are satisfied with the level of attention they get in class in addition to the entire course of training. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and determine what their teaching approaches are as well as their backgrounds and credentials.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a cooking program if you will not be able to attend the classes. So make certain that the school you pick offers class scheduling that will fit in with your active lifestyle. If you can only attend in the evening or on Saturdays or Sundays near Huntsville AL due to your job schedule, make certain that the school you select offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend part-time, check that the cooking institute has a part-time offering. Also, ask what the make-up protocol is if you have to miss a class as a result of family, work or other commitments.