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Evaluating Cooking Institutes
At this point you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you want to earn, and whether or not you would like to enroll in a public or private institute. Since there a large number of culinary arts programs in the Drexel Heights area and across the USA, you need to create a checklist of essential qualifiers so that you can start narrowing your options. Some obvious qualifications, such as cost and location are an excellent place to begin. But choosing a school because it is the closest or the cheapest is not the ideal way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other criteria, including reputation and accreditation that you must assess as well. Therefore, following are some critical areas that you need to research for every school as you compare and contrast them and make your ultimate decision.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary arts school you pick has some type of accreditation from either a regional or a national organization. As aforementioned, the accrediting agency should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized authority, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have passed a thorough assessment pertaining to their course of study, teachers and facilities. So not only does accreditation help establish that you will receive quality training, but it may also assist in obtaining a student loan or financial aid which are generally not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools often have the benefit of possessing modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been operating long enough to garner an accreditation or to develop a reputation. Conversely, older schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a lengthy history of success and received one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has operated, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job placement program. Certainly there is some give and take based on the age of the culinary arts schools. And older, more renowned schools commonly update their equipment and facilities. The valuable takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an outstanding reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with modern equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary colleges you are assessing. Low graduation rates are indications that a number of students were unhappy with either the schools or the training and dropped out. They can also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to teach the course of study. Ask the schools to furnish their job placement rates as well. If a school has a high job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a great or outstanding reputation within the cooking community, as well as a broad network of professional contacts. Be skeptical of any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The culinary arts institute that you choose must be within driving distance of your Drexel Heights home, unless you have decided to move. You may look into attending college online, but you would still have to travel for your externship training. On the other hand, perhaps you have decided to attend a particular culinary institute located in another state because of its prominence and courses offered. It would be a wise decision to visit the facility before enrolling, to make certain that you are satisfied with the location and your future living conditions. Look over the training facilities personally to make certain they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Consider also that many schools concentrate their job placement programs within their regional communities, so choose a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The best approach to learn how to cook is with a lot of personalized training. If the cooking school you enroll in has bigger classes, you will undoubtedly receive little individual attention from the instructors. The optimal way to evaluate the interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on some of the classes. Ask some of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are satisfied with the level of attention they receive in class in addition to the overall training. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their teaching approaches are together with their experiences and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a cooking institute if you will be unable to attend the classes. So make certain that the school you choose provides class scheduling that will accommodate your active lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ because of your work schedule, make certain that the school you decide on offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the culinary program has a part-time option. Also, check to see what the make-up protocol is if you must miss a class due to work, family or other obligations.