Culinary Arts Colleges
How to Select the Right One Near Drexel Heights Arizona
You have made a wonderful career choice to become a cook or chef by enrolling in a culinary institute near Drexel Heights AZ. You'll be able to make a good income doing what you love by learning to create extraordinary meals or make elegant pastries and desserts. However, exactly how do you go about selecting a culinary arts school now that you've decided to enroll? What qualifications should you review and compare among the contending cooking colleges before arriving at your final choice? Bear in mind that you must choose the right program and degree in order to be successful in the hospitality and restaurant business. 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 can attend a small cooking college, an online college, or enroll in a prestigious culinary institute that offers more advanced degree programs. The type of credential and school you select will probably be based on how much time and money you can afford to commit, as well as your ultimate career objective. Once you have established what your main area of interest and budget are, you can start assessing the culinary arts schools that meet your preliminary requirements. Depending upon the degree and type of culinary school you choose, you can be employed as a professional chef or cook in just six months. So before we delve more into the system of choosing a school, let's speak a little more about the degree alternatives that are available.
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Cooking School Degree Options
As with a number of other fields or professions in Drexel Heights AZ, there are a variety of degree programs that are available in the culinary arts. At the most basic level, you can enroll in a local cooking course, which are more casual in nature and can run from just a few hours to a number of weeks. Often a diploma or a certificate is provided after completion. They can be comprehensive in nature, such as instructing how to cook French meals, or they may be rather targeted and focus on one dish, for example Crepes Suzette. Naturally if you are searching for a more conventional education geared towards a career in the restaurant industry, you will probably want to enroll in a degree program. With a degree program, you will be required to invest considerably more time.
- Associate's Degrees can take as long as 6 months to 2 years to complete.
- Bachelor's Degrees usually call for as much as 4 years of instruction.
- Masters Degrees can take an added 2 years or more after attaining a Bachelor's.
Even more advanced training alternatives may be offered, such as specialized or Doctoral programs offered by culinary arts institutes. The most important issue to remember when deciding on which degree to strive for is ensuring that it provides the credential and education needed to advance your ultimate career objectives.
Online Cooking Degree Programs
Some prospective students may find that there are no culinary arts institutions that are within commuting distance of their Drexel Heights AZ home. One alternative is to attend online classes within the comfort of one's residence. The accessibility and flexibility makes it the one solution for some students that continue working full-time while going to college. In addition there are more schools online than ever that are accredited. Bear in mind that a significant component of the training will be provided under an externship. Externships are programs where students train under regional chefs or other culinary arts professionals so that they receive practical training outside of the internet classroom. Just make sure that the online program you enroll in is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved organization (more on this later). And so if you are disciplined enough to be able to go to classes and study in this more independent manner, earning a culinary arts online degree might be the best option for you.
Comparing Culinary Arts Programs
At this point 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 school. Since there a large number of culinary programs in the Drexel Heights area and across the Country, you need to create a checklist of important qualifications so that you can begin limiting your choices. A few obvious qualifiers, such as cost and location are an excellent place to start. But deciding on a school because it is the nearest or the least expensive is not the best way to decide on your education. There are other criteria, for instance accreditation and reputation that you should review as well. So below are some critical areas that you will need to research for each school as you compare them and make your ultimate decision.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary program you choose has some type of accreditation from either a regional or a national authority. As mentioned previously, the accrediting agency should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have passed a comprehensive review pertaining to their course of study, teachers and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help ascertain that you will receive exceptional training, but it can also assist in acquiring a student loan or financial assistance which are generally not available for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established 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 cultivate 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 much more a school has been in business, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job assistance program. Obviously there is some give and take based on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more highly regarded schools usually modernize their equipment and facilities. The valuable lesson is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. First, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary schools you are examining. Low graduation rates are red flags that many students were unhappy with either the colleges or the programs and dropped out. They might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to teach the course of study. Ask the schools to furnish their job placement rates also. If a school has a high job placement rate, it will help validate that it has a great or excellent reputation within the cooking community, in addition to a broad network of professional associations. Be skeptical of any school that will not supply this information.
Location. The culinary school that you choose must be within driving distance of your Drexel Heights home, unless you have decided to relocate. You may think about attending school online, but you would still need to travel for your externship training. On the other hand, perhaps you have decided to enroll in a specific culinary school located in another state due to its prominence and programs offered. It would be a good idea to visit the campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are satisfied with the location and your future living conditions. Inspect the training facilities in person to make certain they are modern and that the equipment is contemporary. Remember also that a number of schools target their job placement programs within their local communities, so pick a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The ideal method to learn how to cook is with a lot of one-on-one training. If the culinary school you enroll in has large classes, you will undoubtedly receive little individual attention from the teachers. The optimal way to evaluate the interaction between teachers and students is to sit in on some of the classes. Ask some 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 overall training. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their teaching styles are as well as their histories and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no point in enrolling in a culinary arts program if you will not be able to attend the classes. Therefore make certain that the school you pick has available class scheduling that can work with your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Drexel Heights AZ because of your work schedule, verify that the school you choose offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the culinary program has a part-time option. Also, find out what the make-up protocol is if you have to miss a class due to work, family or other responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Drexel Heights Culinary School
A rewarding career in the restaurant and hospitality profession is contingent upon choosing the right culinary arts institute. As we have discussed, there are several things that you should take into consideration when evaluating schools, for instance their accreditation, reputations, and training facilities. Just like any life changing decision, you need to start by gathering information, and the optimal way to do that is by contacting culinary institutes directly, either face to face or over the phone. If you're unsure about which schools to consider, you might want to think about talking to chefs in your location about any culinary institutes they recommend. Then go on the Web to explore those schools even more before contacting them. By taking the time to thoroughly research each of your education alternatives, you will be in a better position to make an enlightened decision. And when you select the ideal school, you will have a wonderful beginning toward your dream of becoming a chef in Drexel Heights Arizona.