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Comparing Culinary Arts Colleges
At this point you should have decided on the type of degree that you wish to earn, and whether or not you want to enroll in a public or private college. Since there are numerous cooking programs in the Green Valley area and within the USA, you need to develop a checklist of important qualifications so that you can begin limiting your options. Some obvious qualifications, such as cost and location are an excellent place to start. But choosing a school because it is the closest or the most affordable is not the best way to decide on your education. There are other factors, such as reputation and accreditation that you need to assess also. Therefore, following are some key areas that you should investigate for every school as you compare them and make your ultimate selection.
Accreditation. It's imperative that the culinary college you decide on has some type of accreditation from either a local or a national agency. As aforementioned, the accrediting organization should be a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged agency, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a detailed evaluation regarding their course of study, teachers and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive exceptional training, but it can also help in acquiring a student loan or financial assistance which are frequently 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 in operation long enough to acquire an accreditation or to establish a reputation. Conversely, older schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a long track record of excellence and acquired one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has operated, the more graduates the school can reach out to for its job placement program. Certainly there is some give and take dependent on the age of the cooking schools. And older, more highly regarded schools typically update their facilities and equipment. The valuable takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your school of choice will have an outstanding reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. First, find out what the graduation rates are for the cooking schools you are looking at. Lower graduation rates are signs that a number of students were dissatisfied with either the colleges or the training and dropped out. They can also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to teach the course of study. Request that the schools supply their job placement rates also. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help affirm that it has a great or outstanding reputation within the culinary community, as well as a large network of professional contacts. Be suspicious of any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The cooking institute that you enroll in must be within driving distance of your Green Valley residence, unless you are willing to relocate. You may think about attending college online, but you would still have to travel for your externship program. Conversely, perhaps you have opted to go to a particular culinary arts school located in a different state due to its prominence and courses offered. It would be a good idea to check out the facility before enrolling, to make sure that you are satisfied with the location and your prospective living conditions. Tour the training facilities in person to make sure they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Consider also that some schools concentrate their job assistance programs within their local communities, so select a location where you will satisfied working.
Class Sizes. The most effective method to learn how to cook is with a lot of personalized instruction. If the culinary arts school you enroll in has larger classes, you will probably receive little personal attention from the teachers. The optimal means to assess the interaction and communication between instructors 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 amount of attention they receive in class in addition to the entire course of training. Also, speak with several of the instructors and find out what their teaching styles are along with their experiences and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary program if you will not be able to attend the classes. So confirm that the school you pick provides class scheduling that will fit in with your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on weekends near Green Valley AZ because of your job schedule, verify that the school you choose offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the culinary arts college has a part-time offering. Also, check to see what the make-up policy is if you must miss a class because of work, family or other responsibilities.