Cooking Degree Programs
How to Enroll In the Right One Near Juneau Alaska
Deciding to become a chef and enrolling in a culinary school near Juneau AK is a wonderful career choice. You will not only learn how to cook extraordinary meals or make lavish desserts, you'll also be able to earn a nice income doing it. However, just how do you go about picking a culinary college once you've made your decision to enroll? Prior to making your final selection, what requirements should you review and compare among the cooking colleges you are considering? In order to be a success in the hospitality and restaurant industry you must pick the right culinary program and degree. There are a wide variety of alternatives to choose from, beginning with a certificate or diploma program and progressing to attaining an undergraduate or even a graduate degree. You may attend a small cooking school, an online college, or enroll in a prestigious culinary institute that provides advanced degrees. The kind of credential and school you choose will probably be based on how much time and money you can afford to commit, together with your ultimate career goal. When you have determined what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can start assessing the culinary arts schools that satisfy your preliminary requirements. Depending on the certification and type of culinary school you decide on, you can be working as a professional chef or cook in just six months. So before we dive more into the process of selecting a school, let's talk a little more about the degree and culinary school options that are available.
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Culinary School Degree Programs
As with many other professions or trades in Juneau AK, there are several degree option programs that are offered in the culinary arts. At the most basic level, you can join a local cooking course, which are more casual in nature and can run from just a few hours to several weeks. Generally a diploma or a certificate is presented upon completion. They may be broad in nature, such as demonstrating how to cook French dishes, or they can be very specific and concentrate on one dish, for instance Crepes Suzette. Naturally if you are searching for a more conventional education applicable for a career in the restaurant industry, you will probably choose to pursue a degree program. With a degree program, you will be required to commit significantly more time.
- Associate's Degrees can take as long as 6 months to 2 years to finish.
- Bachelor's Degrees generally require as much as four years of instruction.
- Masters Degrees may take an additional 2 years or more after acquiring a Bachelor's.
More advanced degree options may be offered, including Doctoral or specialized programs made available by culinary arts institutes. Probably the most important point to bear in mind when deciding on which degree to pursue is ensuring that it provides the credential and education required to advance your ultimate career goals.
Once you have made your choice regarding the kind of instruction and degree that you would like to pursue, you can start your search for the culinary school, college or institute that offers it. For example, if your goal is to become a chef specializing in Italian cuisine, then of course you will focus on those colleges that provide the suitable training. Or you can opt for an institute based on its ranking or other factors (we'll discuss 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, culinary schools generally fall under 3 distinct categories:
- Cooking Schools. Certain cooking schools do offer degree programs, but generally they offer diplomas or certificates. Their courses tend to be more specialized in nature, and they can range anywhere from one or two months to as long as three or four years.
- Community Colleges. Local community colleges can be more inexpensive than most private colleges and a large number have exceptional 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 more advanced training and degrees are furnished by culinary colleges and institutes. Some institutes provide the most highly regarded as well as the highest level of training in academia. But bear in mind, since they are private schools they tend to be more costly than their public counterparts, some much more.
Choosing a culinary arts school will not only be based on the type of degree or program you would like to pursue, but also the amount of money you have to invest in your education. If you decide to enroll in a public institution to lower expenses, keep in mind that out-of-state residents generally have to pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. Furthermore, many community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition rates for local residents. So make sure to research the public alternatives within Alaska as well as within the Juneau AK area to find the most affordable options.
Online Cooking Degree Programs
A number of prospective students may find that there are no culinary schools that are within travelling proximity of their Juneau AK residence. One option is to enroll in online training within the comfort of one's residence. The accessibility and flexibility makes it the only solution for some students that continue working full time while going to classes. Plus there are more programs online than ever before that are accredited. Remember that a significant component of the instruction will be furnished through an externship. Externships are programs where students work under local chefs or other culinary arts practitioners to ensure that they receive practical training beyond the online classroom. Just be sure that the online college you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged agency (more on this later). And so if you are dedicated enough to be able to participate in classes and study using this more independent manner, obtaining a cooking degree online may be the right option for you.
Contrasting Cooking Schools
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you plan to attain, and whether or not you would like to enroll in a public or private institute. Since there are numerous culinary arts programs in the Juneau area and across the Country, you need to develop a checklist of important qualifiers so that you can begin limiting your options. A few obvious qualifications, for example location and cost are a good place to start. But choosing a school because it is the nearest or the most affordable is not the best way to decide on your education. There are other criteria, including accreditation and reputation that you need to review also. So below are some critical areas that you need to research for every school as you compare them and make your ultimate choice.
Accreditation. It's very important that the cooking college you decide on 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 organization, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough assessment pertaining to their course of study, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ascertain that you will receive exceptional training, but it may also help in securing a student loan or financial assistance which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools often have the advantage of possessing modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been open long enough to acquire an accreditation or to cultivate a reputation. On the other hand, older schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a lengthy track record of excellence and acquired one or more accreditations. Also, the much more a school has been in business, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job placement program. Certainly there is some give and take dependent on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more reputable schools commonly update their facilities and equipment. The valuable lesson is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an excellent reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary colleges you are looking at. Low graduation rates are red flags that numerous students were unhappy with either the colleges or the programs and dropped out. They may also signify that the instructors were not competent to teach the course of study. Ask the schools to furnish their job placement rates also. If a college has a high job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a good or excellent reputation within the culinary arts community, as well as a large network of professional relationships. Watch out for any school that will not supply this information.
Location. The culinary school that you attend should be within driving distance of your Juneau home, unless you have decided to move. You may consider attending school online, but you would still have to travel for your externship training. Alternatively, perhaps you have opted to attend a specific culinary arts institute located in another state due to its reputation and courses offered. It would be a good idea to pay a visit to the campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are comfortable with the location and your prospective living conditions. Tour the training facilities personally to make certain they are up to date and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that some schools focus their job placement programs within their local 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 training. If the culinary arts school you enroll in has larger classes, you will undoubtedly receive minimal personal attention from the teachers. The best manner in which to assess the communication and interaction between teachers and students is to audit some 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 receive in class in addition to the overall training. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their teaching approaches are along with their histories and credentials.
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 confirm that the school you choose provides class scheduling that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend in the evening or on weekends near Juneau AK because of your job schedule, verify that the school you choose offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the culinary arts institute has a part-time alternative. Also, check to see what the make-up policy is if you must miss a class as a result of work, family or other obligations.
Find the Right Juneau Cooking School
A successful career in the restaurant and hospitality profession is predicated upon picking the ideal culinary college. As we have discussed, there are various things that you need to take into account when comparing schools, including their reputations, accreditation, and training facilities. Just like any important decision, you should start by gathering information, and the ideal means to do that is by getting in touch with culinary arts institutes directly, either face to face or by phone. If you're not sure regarding which schools to look into, you might need to think about consulting with chefs in your city about any culinary schools they recommend. Then use the Internet to look into those schools further before contacting them. By making the effort to carefully research each of your education options, you will be in a more ideal position to make an informed decision. And when you choose the ideal school, you will have a wonderful beginning toward your goal of becoming a chef in Juneau Alaska.