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Comparing Culinary Institutions
At this point you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you want to earn, and if you want to enroll in a public or private institute. Since there are numerous culinary arts colleges in the Avondale area and within the USA, you need to create a checklist of important qualifiers so that you can begin narrowing down your options. Certain obvious qualifications, such as cost and location are a good place to start. But selecting a school because it is the nearest 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 review as well. Therefore, following are some critical areas that you need to investigate for each school as you compare them and make your final choice.
Accreditation. It's important that the culinary college you decide on has some form of accreditation from either a local or a national organization. As previously mentioned, the accrediting authority should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency, for example the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a detailed review relating 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 acquiring a student loan or financial assistance which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools generally have the benefit of having modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been open long enough to garner an accreditation or to establish a reputation. Conversely, more established schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a lengthy track record of success and acquired one or more accreditations. Also, the much more a school has operated, the more graduates the school can reach out to for its job assistance program. Obviously there is some give and take dependent on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more reputable schools typically modernize their equipment and facilities. The important lesson is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, find out what the graduation rates are for the culinary arts colleges you are looking at. Low graduation rates are indicators that numerous students were unhappy with either the institutes or the programs and quit before graduating. They may also signify that the instructors were not competent to teach the curriculum. Request that the schools supply their job placement rates also. If a college has a high job placement rate, it will help verify that it has a good or exceptional reputation within the cooking community, as well as a broad network of professional relationships. Be wary of any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The culinary college that you choose should be within driving distance of your Avondale residence, unless you are willing to move. You may consider attending school online, but you would still need to travel for your externship training. On the other hand, perhaps you have opted to attend a particular culinary arts school located in a different state because of its reputation and programs offered. It would be a good idea to pay a visit to the campus before enrolling, to make sure that you are satisfied with the area and your prospective living conditions. Inspect the training facilities personally to make sure they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that a number of schools focus their job placement programs within their regional communities, so choose a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The most effective approach to learn how to cook is with plenty of one-on-one instruction. If the culinary school you enroll in has large classes, you will probably receive minimal personal attention from the teachers. The best manner in which to evaluate the interaction and communication between teachers and students is to audit several of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are happy with the amount of attention they get in class in addition to the entire course of training. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their teaching philosophies are as well as their histories and credentials.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary arts institute if you will be unable to attend the classes. So make certain that the school you decide on has available class scheduling that will fit in with your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend in the evening or on weekends near Avondale AZ due to your work schedule, make certain that the school you decide on offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the culinary program has a part-time alternative. Also, find out what the make-up policy is if you need to miss a class as a result of work, family or other obligations.