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Comparing Culinary Programs
By now you should have decided on the type of degree that you want to attain, and whether or not you would like to enroll in a private or a public school. Since there are numerous cooking programs in the Glendale area and across the USA, you must develop a checklist of important qualifiers so that you can begin narrowing your choices. Certain obvious qualifiers, for example location and cost are an excellent place to start. But choosing a school because it is the nearest or the least expensive is not the optimal way to decide on your education. There are other variables, including reputation and accreditation that you must review as well. Therefore, below are some crucial areas that you will need to research for every school as you compare and contrast them and make your final choice.
Accreditation. It's important that the cooking institute you select has some form of accreditation from either a regional or a national authority. As previously stated, the accrediting organization should be a U.S. Department of Education certified agency, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have passed a comprehensive assessment relating to their curriculum, teachers and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive excellent training, but it can also assist in obtaining a student loan or financial aid which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools generally have the benefit of having modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been operating long enough to earn an accreditation or to cultivate a reputation. Conversely, older schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a lengthy track record of success and acquired one or more accreditations.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 dependent on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more renowned schools usually update their facilities and equipment. The significant takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your selected school will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary arts colleges you are examining. Low graduation rates are red flags that a number of students were unhappy with either the schools or the programs and quit before graduating. They might also indicate that the teachers 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 affirm that it has a great or exceptional reputation within the culinary community, as well as a wide network of professional contacts. Watch out for any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The culinary arts institute that you enroll in must be within driving distance of your Glendale residence, unless you are able to relocate. You may consider attending school online, but you would still need to travel for your externship training. Conversely, perhaps you have decided to go to a specific culinary arts school located in another state due to its prominence and courses offered. It would be a wise decision to check out the campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are comfortable with the area and your potential living conditions. Tour the training facilities in person to make sure they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that many schools concentrate their job assistance 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 lots of personalized instruction. If the cooking program you enroll in has larger classes, you will probably receive little individual attention from the teachers. The optimal means to assess the interaction between instructors and students is to attend 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 receive in class as well as the overall training. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and learn what their teaching approaches are as well as their experiences and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary arts program if you will not be able to attend the classes. Therefore make sure that the school you select has available class scheduling that can fit in with your hectic lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ because of your work schedule, make sure that the school you pick offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the cooking school has a part-time alternative. Also, ask what the make-up protocol is if you have to miss a class due to family, work or other responsibilities.