Chef Degree Programs
How to Find the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
You have made a great career choice to become a chef or cook by enrolling in a culinary institute near Juneau AK. You'll be able to earn a nice living doing something you love by learning to create incredible meals or make lavish pastries and desserts. However, now that you've made the decision, just how do you undertake choosing a culinary college? What criteria should you research and compare among the contending cooking colleges before reaching your ultimate choice? Remember that you must choose the ideal program and degree in order to be a success in the hospitality and restaurant business. There are a wide range of alternatives to pick from, beginning with a diploma or certificate program and progressing to earning an undergraduate or even a graduate degree. You may attend a small cooking school, an online program, or enroll in a renowned culinary institute that provides more advanced degrees. The kind of credential and school you select will no doubt be dependent upon the amount of time and money you can afford to commit, as well as your ultimate career goal. Once you have decided what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can begin examining the culinary arts programs that satisfy your initial requirements. Depending upon the certification and type of culinary school you choose, you could be employed as a professional cook or chef in just 6 months. So before we dig more into the method of selecting a school, let's talk a little bit more about the degree and culinary school options that are available.
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Cooking Institute Degree Programs
Just as with numerous other industries or trades in Juneau AK, there are several degree options that are available in the culinary arts. At the most elemental level, you can sign up for a nearby cooking class, which are more casual in nature and can last from a few hours to several weeks. Generally a diploma or a certificate is offered upon completion. They may be comprehensive in nature, for example demonstrating how to cook Spanish dishes, or they may be rather targeted and focus on one dish, for example Crepes Suzette. Of course if you are searching for a more conventional education applicable for a career in the restaurant industry, you will undoubtedly choose to enroll in a degree program. With a degree program, you will be obligated to invest significantly more time.
- Associate's Degrees can require anywhere from 6 months to two years to finish.
- Bachelor's Degrees generally involve as much as four years of instruction.
- Masters Degrees may take an additional two years or more after receiving a Bachelor's.
Additional advanced degree alternatives may be available, such as specialized or Doctoral programs made available by culinary arts institutes. The most important point to bear in mind when determining which degree to pursue is ensuring that it furnishes the degree and education necessary to advance your ultimate career goals.
When you have made your selection regarding the type of instruction and degree that you want to pursue, you can begin your search for the culinary school, college or institute that offers it. For example, if your desire is to become a chef specializing in German cuisine, then of course you will concentrate on those institutes that furnish the proper training. Or you can opt for a school based on its reputation or other factors (we'll discuss a few of those later) and then select the most ideal degree program offered that is simpatico with your career goals in Juneau AK. However you make your choice, cooking schools normally fall under 3 distinct categories:
- Cooking Schools. Certain cooking schools do offer degree programs, but in most cases they offer certificates or diplomas. Their courses tend to be more specialized in nature, and they can range anywhere from a couple of months to as long as 3 or 4 years.
- Community Colleges. Regional community colleges can be more inexpensive than the majority of private schools and a large number have outstanding programs. They almost exclusively offer Associate's Degrees and are founded and maintained by either local or state governments.
- Culinary Schools and Institutes. The advanced training and degrees are provided by culinary arts colleges and institutes. Several institutes provide the most highly regarded as well as the highest standard of training in academia. Unfortunately, since they are private schools they tend to be more expensive than their public counterparts, some much more.
Selecting a culinary school will not only be based on the type of program or degree you would like to pursue, but also the amount of money you have to spend on your education. If you decide to enroll in a public school to reduce costs, keep in mind that out-of-state residents usually are required to pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. Also, many community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition charges for area residents. So make sure to look into the public alternatives within Alaska and also within the Juneau AK area to discover the most economical options.
Online Cooking Degree Programs
Many potential students may discover that there are no culinary arts institutes that are within driving distance of their Juneau AK home. One solution is to attend online classes within the comfort of one's home. The practicality and flexibility makes it the one solution for a number of students that continue working full-time while attending college. Also there are more schools online than ever before that are accredited. Keep in mind that a considerable component of the instruction will be provided through an externship. Externships are programs where students work with area chefs or other cooking practitioners so that they obtain practical training outside of the internet classroom. Just be sure that the online college you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved agency (more on this later). And so if you are disciplined enough to be able to attend classes and study in this more independent method, obtaining a culinary degree online just might be the best option for you.
Comparing Cooking Institutions
By now you should have decided on the type of degree that you plan to earn, and whether or not you want to enroll in a private or a public school. Since there a large number of culinary colleges in the Juneau area and across the United States, you must develop a checklist of essential qualifiers so that you can begin limiting your choices. Certain obvious qualifiers, such as cost and location are a good place to begin. But selecting a school because it is the closest or the least expensive is not the ideal way to decide on your education. There are other considerations, such as reputation and accreditation that you should evaluate as well. Therefore, following are some key areas that you will need to research for each school as you compare them and make your final choice.
Accreditation. It's imperative that the culinary college you select has some form of accreditation from either a local or a national agency. As previously stated, the accrediting agency should be a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged agency, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a comprehensive evaluation regarding their curriculum, teachers and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive exceptional training, but it can also assist in securing a student loan or financial aid which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools frequently have the advantage of possessing modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been in operation long enough to earn an accreditation or to develop a reputation. Conversely, more established schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a long history of excellence and earned one or more accreditations. Also, the longer 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 dependent on the age of the culinary arts schools. And older, more highly regarded schools commonly update their facilities and equipment. The significant lesson 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. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the culinary arts institutes you are looking at. Lower graduation rates are signs that numerous students were unhappy with either the schools or the courses and quit before graduating. They might also indicate that the teachers were not qualified to teach the curriculum. Request that the schools furnish their job placement rates as well. If a college has a high job placement rate, it will help affirm that it has a great or excellent reputation within the cooking community, as well as a broad network of professional associations. Be wary of any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The cooking college that you enroll in must be within driving distance of your Juneau home, unless you have decided to move. You may think about attending college online, but you would still have to travel for your externship training. On the other hand, maybe you have chosen to attend a specific culinary arts school located in another state due to its ranking 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 prospective living conditions. Inspect the training facilities in person to make sure they are up to date and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that a number of schools target their job assistance programs within their regional communities, so pick a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The best method to learn how to cook is with plenty of one-on-one instruction. If the cooking college you enroll in has large classes, you will most likely get minimal individual attention from the teachers. The ideal manner in which to evaluate the interaction and communication between teachers and students is to sit in on several of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Find out if they are happy with the amount of attention they get in class as well as the entire course of training. Also, speak with several of the teachers and determine what their teaching styles are as well as their backgrounds and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary arts college if you will be unable to attend the classes. Therefore make certain that the school you decide on provides class scheduling that can work with your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on weekends near Juneau AK because of your job schedule, verify that the school you select offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, check that the cooking program has a part-time option. Also, ask what the make-up protocol is if you must miss a class as a result of family, work or other commitments.
Find the Right Juneau Cooking School
A successful career in the hospitality and restaurant business is predicated upon selecting the appropriate culinary school. As we have covered, there are several things that you must consider when comparing schools, for example their reputations, accreditation, and training facilities. As with any important decision, you need to begin by compiling information, and the ideal approach to accomplish that is by getting in touch with culinary arts colleges directly, either in person or over the telephone. If you're not sure about which schools to explore, you might need to consider asking chefs in your area about any cooking schools they recommend. Later use the Internet to investigate these schools even more before contacting them. By taking the time to carefully evaluate each of your education alternatives, you will be in a much better position to make an educated decision. And when you select the right school, you will have a wonderful beginning toward your dream of becoming a chef in Juneau Alaska.