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Contrasting Cooking Programs
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you plan to earn, and if you would like to enroll in a private or a public institute. Since there are numerous cooking institutions in the Fairbanks area and across the United States, you will want to develop a checklist of important qualifiers so that you can start narrowing down your options. A few obvious qualifiers, for example location and cost are an excellent place to begin. But deciding on a school because it is the closest or the least expensive is not the optimal way to decide on your education. There are other considerations, including reputation and accreditation that you need to evaluate as well. Therefore, below are some critical areas that you will need to research for every school as you compare them and make your final choice.
Accreditation. It's very important that the cooking program you pick has some type of accreditation from either a local or a national agency. As previously mentioned, the accrediting authority should be a U.S. Department of Education certified agency, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a detailed assessment pertaining to their curriculum, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive excellent training, but it can also assist in obtaining a student loan or financial assistance which are generally not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools frequently have the advantage of possessing modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been open long enough to acquire an accreditation or to develop a reputation. Conversely, older schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a lengthy history of success and received one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has been in operation, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job assistance program. Certainly there is some give and take dependent on the age of the cooking schools. And older, more renowned schools usually modernize their facilities and equipment. The important takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an excellent reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary institutions you are evaluating. Lower graduation rates are indications that a number of students were dissatisfied with either the colleges or the courses and quit before graduating. They can also signify that the instructors were not qualified to teach the curriculum. Request that the schools furnish their job placement rates as well. If a college has a higher job placement rate, it will help verify that it has a good or exceptional reputation within the culinary field, as well as a large network of professional contacts. Watch out for any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The culinary arts college that you attend should be within commuting distance of your Fairbanks home, unless you can move. You may think about attending school online, but you would still have to travel for your externship program. Conversely, maybe you have opted to enroll in a particular culinary school located in another state because of its ranking and courses offered. It would be a good idea to visit the campus before enrolling, to make sure that you are satisfied with the location and your future living conditions. Look over the training facilities in person to make certain they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Consider also that a number of schools concentrate their job assistance programs within their local communities, so choose a location where you will be happy working.
Class Sizes. The best method to learn how to cook is with a lot of personalized training. If the culinary arts program you enroll in has bigger classes, you will undoubtedly receive little individual attention from the teachers. The best way to evaluate the interaction and communication between faculty and students is to attend several of the classes. Ask some of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are satisfied with the amount of attention they get in class in addition to the entire course of training. Also, speak with several of the instructors and find out what their teaching philosophies are as well as their histories and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a cooking college if you will not be able to attend the classes. Therefore make sure that the school you decide on offers class scheduling that can fit in with your active lifestyle. If you can only attend in the evening or on Saturdays or Sundays near Fairbanks AK due to your work schedule, confirm that the school you choose offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the culinary school has a part-time alternative. Also, ask what the make-up policy is if you have to miss a class because of family, work or other responsibilities.