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Comparing Culinary Programs
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you plan to attain, and if you would like to enroll in a private or a public school. Since there are numerous culinary schools in the Apache Junction area and across the Country, you will want to create a checklist of important qualifiers so that you can begin limiting your choices. A few obvious qualifications, for instance cost and location are an excellent place to begin. But choosing a school because it is the nearest or the cheapest is not the optimal way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other considerations, including reputation and accreditation that you should evaluate as well. Therefore, following are some critical areas that you should investigate for every school as you compare and contrast them and make your ultimate selection.
Accreditation. It's very important that the cooking institute you decide on has some type 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 authority, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a comprehensive assessment regarding their course of study, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help establish that you will receive exceptional training, but it may also assist in obtaining a student loan or financial aid which are often 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 sustained history of success and acquired one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has been in business, the more alumni the school can reach out to for its job placement program. Obviously there is some give and take dependent on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more renowned schools usually modernize 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. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the cooking schools you are evaluating. Lower graduation rates are indications that numerous students were unhappy with either the colleges or the courses and quit before graduating. They might also signify that the instructors were not competent to teach the curriculum. Ask the schools to furnish their job placement rates as well. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help validate that it has a good or excellent reputation within the culinary community, in addition to a broad network of professional relationships. Be skeptical of any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The culinary arts college that you choose should be within commuting distance of your Apache Junction residence, unless you can relocate. You may look into attending classes online, but you would still need to travel for your externship program. Conversely, maybe you have chosen to attend a particular culinary institute located in another state because of 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 location and your future living conditions. Inspect the training facilities in person to make certain they are up to date and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that many schools concentrate their job assistance programs within their local communities, so select a location where you will satisfied working.
Class Sizes. The best approach to learn how to cook is with plenty of one-on-one training. If the culinary program you enroll in has bigger classes, you will probably receive limited personal attention from the instructors. The optimal way to assess the communication and interaction between instructors and students is to audit 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 in addition to the overall training. Also, speak with several of the instructors and determine what their teaching approaches are along with their backgrounds and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no point in enrolling in a culinary arts school if you will be unable to attend the classes. Therefore make certain that the school you decide on offers class scheduling that will work with your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend in the evening or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ due to your job schedule, verify that the school you pick offers either weekend or night classes. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the cooking institute has a part-time option. Also, ask what the make-up policy is if you must miss a class as a result of family, work or other responsibilities.