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Evaluating Cooking Programs
At this point you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you want to attain, and whether or not you would like to enroll in a private or a public college. Since there are numerous culinary schools in the Bullhead City area and within the USA, you will want to develop a checklist of important qualifications so that you can start narrowing your choices. Some obvious qualifications, for example location and cost are an excellent place to start. But picking a school because it is the closest or the cheapest is not the optimal way to decide on your education. There are other criteria, for example reputation and accreditation that you must evaluate as well. So below are some key areas that you will need to investigate for each school as you compare them and make your ultimate choice.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary program you decide on has some form of accreditation from either a local or a national authority. As previously mentioned, the accrediting agency should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough review regarding their course of study, teachers and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive exceptional training, but it can also help in acquiring a student loan or financial aid which are generally not offered for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools frequently have the benefit of possessing modern facilities and equipment. 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 long 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 reach out to for its job assistance program. Certainly there is some give and take based on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more highly regarded schools typically update their facilities and equipment. The significant lesson is that in the best case scenario, your selected school will have an outstanding reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the culinary schools you are reviewing. Low graduation rates are indications that a number of students were dissatisfied with either the institutes or the programs and quit before graduating. They may also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to teach the course of study. Request that the schools furnish their job placement rates as well. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help verify that it has a great or outstanding reputation within the culinary arts field, in addition to a wide network of professional associations. Be wary of any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The culinary arts college that you enroll in should be within commuting distance of your Bullhead City home, unless you can move. You may think about attending classes online, but you would still have to travel for your externship program. Conversely, maybe you have chosen to enroll in a specific culinary arts college located in a different state due to its prominence and programs offered. It would be a wise decision to visit the campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are satisfied with the area and your potential living conditions. Look over the training facilities in person to make certain they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that many schools focus their job placement programs within their regional communities, so choose a location where you will satisfied working.
Class Sizes. The most effective method to learn how to cook is with plenty of one-on-one instruction. If the culinary college you enroll in has bigger classes, you will probably receive minimal personal attention from the instructors. The optimal way to assess the interaction between faculty 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 pleased with the level of attention they get in class as well as the entire course of training. Also, talk with some of the instructors and learn what their teaching styles are together with their experiences and credentials.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary school if you will not be able to attend the classes. So confirm that the school you select provides class scheduling that can accommodate your hectic lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Bullhead City AZ due to your work schedule, verify that the school you choose offers either weekend or night classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the cooking school has a part-time offering. Also, find out what the make-up protocol is if you need to miss a class because of work, family or other obligations.