Cooking Degree Programs
How to Choose the Right One Near Flagstaff Arizona
Becoming a chef by enrolling in a culinary institute near Flagstaff AZ is a great career choice. You will not only be taught how to create extraordinary dishes or make elegant desserts, you'll also be able to earn a nice living doing it. However, just how do you go about selecting a culinary arts college now that you've decided to enroll? What qualifications should you research and compare among the contending cooking schools before making your ultimate choice? Bear in mind that you must pick the appropriate program and degree in order to be successful in the restaurant and hospitality industry. There are a wide range of alternatives to pick from, beginning with a diploma or certificate program and advancing to attaining an undergraduate or even a graduate degree. You can enroll in a small cooking college, an online college, or enroll in a renowned culinary institute that offers advanced degree programs. The kind of credential and school you pick will probably be dependent on how much time and money you can afford to invest, as well as your ultimate career goal. After you have decided what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can begin examining the culinary arts schools that meet your initial requirements. Depending on the certification and type of culinary school you select, you can be working as a professional chef or cook in as little as six months. So before we delve more into the process of choosing a school, let's speak a little more about the degree and culinary school options that are available.
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Culinary College Degree Options
Just as with a number of other professions or trades in Flagstaff AZ, there are multiple degree programs that are available in the culinary arts. At the most elemental level, you can enroll in a local cooking class, which are more casual in nature and can last from a few hours to a number of weeks. Often a certificate or a diploma is awarded after completion. They may be broad in nature, for example demonstrating how to cook Italian meals, or they can be rather specific and concentrate on one dish, for instance Crepes Suzette. Naturally if you are searching for a more conventional education geared towards a career in the restaurant industry, you will probably choose to enroll in a degree program. With a degree program, you will be obligated to devote considerably more time.
- Associate's Degrees can take as long as six months to two years to complete.
- Bachelor's Degrees typically require as much as 4 years of instruction.
- Masters Degrees may take an added two years or even longer after attaining a Bachelor's.
Even more advanced training alternatives may be available, such as specialized or Doctoral programs offered by culinary arts institutes. The most important issue to remember when determining which degree to strive for is making sure that it provides the degree and education necessary to advance your ultimate career objectives.
After you have made your selection regarding the kind of instruction and degree that you would like to pursue, you can launch your search for the culinary school, college or institute that offers it. For example, if your dream is to become a chef specializing in French cuisine, then naturally you will concentrate on those colleges that furnish the proper training. Or you can choose an institute based on its reputation or other factors (we'll review a few of those later) and then choose the most ideal degree program available that is simpatico with your career objectives in Flagstaff AZ. However you make your choice, culinary arts schools normally fit within 3 distinct categories:
- Cooking Schools. Certain cooking schools do offer degree programs, but typically they offer certificates or diplomas. Their programs tend to be more specialized in nature, and they can range anywhere from one or two months to as long as 3 or 4 years.
- Community Colleges. Regional community colleges can be more affordable than the majority of private schools and a large number have exceptional programs. They almost solely offer Associate's Degrees and are founded and managed by either state or local governments.
- Culinary Arts Schools and Institutes. The advanced training and degrees are offered by culinary schools and institutes. Several institutes provide the most renowned and highest standard of training in academia. However, since they are private schools they often can be more costly than their public counterparts, some a lot more.
Picking a culinary college will not only be dependent on the type of degree or program you want to pursue, but also the amount of money you have to spend on your education. If you decide to enroll in a public school to reduce costs, remember that out-of-state residents usually are required to pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. Furthermore, numerous community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition charges for area residents. So be sure to research the public options within Arizona as well as within the Flagstaff AZ area to find the most affordable options.
Online Culinary Arts Programs
A number of potential students may find that there are no cooking institutes that are within driving distance of their Flagstaff AZ home. One solution is to enroll in online classes within the convenience of one's residence. The accessibility and flexibility makes it the best solution for many students that are still working full-time while attending school. Also there are more programs online than ever that are accredited. Remember that a significant part of the training will be provided under an externship. Externships are programs where students train under local chefs or other culinary arts practitioners so that they receive practical training outside of the virtual classroom. Just make sure that the online college you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved agency (more on this later). So if you are dedicated enough to be able to participate in classes and study in this more independent method, attaining a culinary arts online degree may be the right choice for you.
Researching Culinary Institutes
At this point you should have decided on the type of degree that you wish to attain, and if you want to enroll in a private or a public school. Since there a large number of culinary programs in the Flagstaff area and across the USA, you will want to develop a checklist of important qualifiers so that you can start limiting your options. Some obvious qualifications, for example location and cost are a good place to start. But deciding on a school because it is the closest or the cheapest is not the ideal way to decide on your education. There are other factors, for example reputation and accreditation that you need to assess as well. Therefore, below are some key areas that you will need to research for each school as you compare them and make your ultimate decision.
Accreditation. It's imperative that the cooking college you pick has some type of accreditation from either a regional or a national agency. As mentioned previously, the accrediting organization should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough assessment pertaining to their course of study, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help establish that you will receive exceptional training, but it can also assist in securing a student loan or financial assistance which are generally not offered for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools generally have the advantage of having modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been in operation long enough to acquire an accreditation or to cultivate 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 much more a school has operated, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job assistance program. Obviously there is some give and take dependent on the age of the cooking schools. And older, more renowned schools usually update their facilities and equipment. The valuable takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your selected school will have an excellent reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, find out what the graduation rates are for the cooking schools you are reviewing. Lower graduation rates are indicators that many students were dissatisfied with either the institutes or the training and dropped out. They can also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to teach the course of study. Request that the schools supply their job placement rates as well. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a good or outstanding reputation within the culinary arts field, in addition to a large network of professional contacts. Be wary of any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The culinary college that you choose must be within driving distance of your Flagstaff home, unless you have decided to move. You may think about attending school online, but you would still have to travel for your externship program. On the other hand, maybe you have decided to attend a specific culinary arts college located in another state because of its ranking and courses offered. It would be a good idea to check out the campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are satisfied with the location and your potential living conditions. Tour the training facilities personally to make certain they are up to date and that the equipment is contemporary. Keep in mind also that many schools target their job placement programs within their regional communities, so select a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The best approach to learn how to cook is with lots of one-on-one instruction. If the culinary institute you enroll in has large classes, you will probably get little personal attention from the teachers. The ideal way to assess the interaction between instructors and students is to audit several of the classes. Ask some of the students what their experience has been. Find out if they are happy with the level of attention they get in class in addition to the overall training. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and determine what their teaching styles are along with their backgrounds and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a culinary arts institute if you will be unable to attend the classes. So make sure that the school you decide on offers class scheduling that can work with your active lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ because of your job schedule, check that the school you select offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the culinary arts institute has a part-time offering. Also, find out what the make-up policy is if you have to miss a class as a result of work, family or other responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Flagstaff Culinary School
A rewarding career in the restaurant and hospitality business is predicated upon choosing the ideal culinary arts institute. As we have discussed, there are several things that you must consider when comparing schools, such as their reputations, accreditation, and training facilities. As with any career decision, you should start by compiling information, and the optimal method to accomplish that is by contacting culinary colleges directly, either in person or by phone. If you're unsure regarding which schools to look into, you might want to think about talking to chefs in your city about any culinary arts colleges they recommend. Then go on the Web to investigate those schools further before you contact them. By making the effort to thoroughly research each of your education options, you will be in a better position to make an educated decision. And when you choose the ideal school, you will have a terrific start toward your aspiration of becoming a chef in Flagstaff Arizona.