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Contrasting Culinary Programs
By now you should have decided on the type of degree that you wish to earn, and if you want to enroll in a private or a public school. Since there are numerous culinary schools in the Trussville area and within the United States, you will want to create a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can start limiting your choices. Certain obvious qualifiers, for example cost and location are a good place to start. But selecting a school because it is the closest or the most affordable is not the best way to decide on your education. There are other factors, for instance accreditation and reputation that you must assess also. Therefore, below are some key areas that you must research for each school as you compare and contrast them and make your ultimate selection.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary arts school you choose has some type of accreditation from either a local or a national authority. As previously stated, the accrediting organization should be a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged agency, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough assessment regarding their course of study, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help confirm that you will receive quality training, but it may also assist in acquiring a student loan or financial assistance which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools generally have the advantage of possessing modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been operating long enough to earn an accreditation or to cultivate a reputation. Conversely, more established schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a sustained history of excellence and earned one or more accreditations. Also, the much more a school has been in operation, the more alumni the school can reach out to for its job placement program. Naturally there is some give and take based on the age of the cooking schools. And older, more renowned schools commonly update their equipment and facilities. The significant lesson is that in the best case scenario, your school of choice will have an outstanding reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with modern equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, find out what the graduation rates are for the culinary arts schools you are assessing. Low graduation rates are red flags that a number of students were unhappy with either the schools or the programs and dropped out. They might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to teach the course of study. Request that the schools provide their job placement rates as well. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a great or exceptional reputation within the cooking community, in addition to a wide network of professional contacts. Be skeptical of any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The culinary arts college that you attend should be within commuting distance of your Trussville residence, unless you can relocate. You may consider attending school online, but you would still need to travel for your externship program. Alternatively, perhaps you have opted to enroll in a particular culinary arts institute located in a different state due to its reputation and courses offered. It would be a wise decision to check out the facility before enrolling, to make certain that you are comfortable with the area and your potential living conditions. Tour the training facilities in person to make sure they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Keep in mind also that a number of schools concentrate their job assistance programs within their regional communities, so choose a location where you will be happy working.
Class Sizes. The best way to learn how to cook is with lots of one-on-one instruction. If the cooking program you enroll in has bigger classes, you will most likely get little individual attention from the teachers. The ideal means to assess the interaction between teachers and students is to attend several of the classes. Ask some 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, speak with some of the teachers and learn what their teaching approaches are along with their histories and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a culinary program if you will be unable to attend the classes. So confirm that the school you decide on offers class scheduling that can accommodate your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Trussville AL because of your work schedule, make certain that the school you select offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the cooking institute has a part-time option. Also, find out what the make-up protocol is if you have to miss a class as a result of family, work or other responsibilities.