Culinary Arts Degree Programs
How to Find the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
You have made a wonderful career choice to become a cook or chef by enrolling in a culinary school near Juneau AK. Not only will you learn how to cook extraordinary dishes or make elegant desserts, you'll also be able to earn a nice living doing it. However, now that you've decided, just how do you undertake picking a culinary arts school? What criteria should you research and compare among the contending culinary institutes before making your final selection? In order to be a success in the restaurant and hospitality industry you must select the ideal culinary program and degree. There are a multitude of alternatives to choose from, beginning with a diploma or certificate program and advancing to attaining an undergraduate or even a graduate degree. You can attend a small culinary college, an online college, or enroll in a large culinary institute that offers advanced degrees. The kind of degree and school you decide on will undoubtedly be based on how much money and time you can afford to spend, as well as your ultimate career goal. Once you have decided what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can start examining the culinary arts colleges that satisfy your initial qualifications. Depending on the certification and type of culinary school you select, you can be working as a professional chef or cook in as little as 6 months. So before we dive more into the process of selecting a school, let's speak a little bit more about the degree and culinary school options that are available.
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Culinary Arts Colleges
Once you have made your choice regarding the type of instruction and degree that you would like to pursue, you can begin your search for the cooking school, college or institute that offers it. As an example, if your desire is to train to be a chef specializing in French cuisine, then obviously you will focus on those institutes that offer the proper training. Or you can opt for a school based on its reputation or other factors (we'll cover several of those later) and then select the best degree program available that is simpatico with your career goals in Juneau AK. However you make your choice, cooking schools typically fit within three distinct categories:
- Cooking Schools. Some cooking schools do offer degree programs, but generally they offer diplomas or certificates. Their programs 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. Local community colleges can be more inexpensive than most private schools and many have outstanding programs. They almost exclusively offer Associate's Degrees and are established and maintained by either state or local governments.
- Culinary Arts Schools and Institutes. The advanced degrees and training are provided by culinary arts colleges and institutes. Several institutes provide the most highly regarded as well as the highest level of training in academia. Unfortunately, since they are private institutions they tend to be more expensive than their public counterparts, some much more.
Picking a culinary arts college will not only be based on the kind of program or degree you would like to pursue, but also how much 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 generally are required to pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. Also, a lot of community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition charges for local residents. So be sure to explore the public alternatives within Alaska and also within the Juneau AK area to find the most economical options.
Online Culinary Arts Colleges
Some potential students may discover that there are no cooking institutes that are within commuting proximity of their Juneau AK residence. One solution is to attend online training within the comfort of one's home. The convenience and flexibility makes it the only solution for a number of students that are still working full-time while going to classes. Also there are more programs online than ever before that are accredited. Remember that a significant part of the training will be provided through an externship. Externships are programs where students work with area chefs or other cooking practitioners so that they receive practical training beyond the internet classroom. Just be sure that the online program you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency (more on this later). And so if you are dedicated enough to be able to attend classes and study using this more independent manner, obtaining a cooking online degree might be the right choice for you.
Researching Culinary Schools
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 public or private institute. Since there are numerous culinary arts colleges in the Juneau area and within the Country, you must develop a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can begin narrowing down your choices. 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 cheapest is not the best way to decide on your education. There are other factors, for instance reputation and accreditation that you need to review also. So following are some key areas that you need to investigate for each school as you compare and contrast them and make your final decision.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary program you select has some type of accreditation from either a regional or a national agency. As previously mentioned, the accrediting organization should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized organization, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have passed a thorough review pertaining to their curriculum, teachers and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive exceptional training, but it may also assist in obtaining a student loan or financial aid which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer 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 cultivate a reputation. Conversely, older schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a lengthy history of excellence and obtained one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has been in operation, the more alumni the school can solicit for its job assistance program. Obviously there is some give and take based on the age of the cooking schools. And older, more renowned schools typically update their equipment and facilities. The significant takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with modern equipment.
Job Placement Rates. First off, ask what the graduation rates are for the cooking colleges you are assessing. Lower graduation rates are signs that many students were unhappy with either the institutes or the courses and dropped out. They might also indicate that the instructors were not competent to teach the curriculum. Ask the schools to provide their job placement rates as well. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help affirm that it has a great or outstanding reputation within the cooking field, as well as a wide network of professional contacts. Watch out for any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The cooking school that you choose must be within driving distance of your Juneau residence, unless you can move. You may look into attending school online, but you would still need to travel for your externship training. Conversely, perhaps you have decided to enroll in a specific culinary college located in another state because of its reputation and programs offered. It would be a wise decision to check out the campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are comfortable with the location and your potential living conditions. Check the training facilities in person to make certain they are up to date and that the equipment is state of the art. Keep in mind also that some schools concentrate their job placement programs within their local communities, so pick a location where you will satisfied working.
Class Sizes. The best method to learn how to cook is with plenty of one-on-one instruction. If the culinary school you enroll in has bigger classes, you will probably receive minimal personal attention from the instructors. The best way to assess the interaction between instructors and students is to audit several of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are pleased with the amount of attention they get in class as well as the overall training. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their teaching approaches are as well as their backgrounds and credentials.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a cooking program if you will not be able to attend the classes. Therefore make sure that the school you choose offers class scheduling that will work with your hectic lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on weekends near Juneau AK due to your job schedule, make certain that the school you choose offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the cooking program has a part-time offering. Also, find out what the make-up policy is if you need to miss a class as a result of family, work or other commitments.
Find Out More About Culinary Colleges in Juneau
Enroll in the Best Juneau Cooking School
A successful career in the hospitality and restaurant industry is dependent upon picking the ideal culinary arts institute. As we have discussed, there are a number of things that you should take into consideration when researching schools, for example their reputations, accreditation, and training facilities. Just like any career decision, you should start by getting information, and the ideal approach to accomplish that is by contacting culinary institutes directly, either in person or by phone. If you're uncertain about which schools to explore, you might want to think about talking to chefs in your location about any culinary institutes they recommend. Then use the Internet to look into these schools further before contacting them. By taking the time to exhaustively evaluate each of your education options, you will find yourself in a much better position to make an enlightened decision. And when you select the right school, you will have a great start toward your dream of becoming a chef in Juneau Alaska.