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Evaluating Culinary Arts Colleges
At this point you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you plan to earn, and if you would like to enroll in a private or a public institute. Since there are numerous culinary arts programs in the Kingman area and within the USA, you need to develop a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can begin narrowing your options. A few obvious qualifications, for instance location and cost are a good place to begin. But choosing a school because it is the nearest or the most affordable is not the best way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other criteria, including reputation and accreditation that you need to review as well. So following are some key areas that you need to investigate for every school as you compare and contrast them and make your ultimate choice.
Accreditation. It's important that the culinary arts school you decide on has some form of accreditation from either a regional or a national authority. As mentioned previously, the accrediting agency should be a U.S. Department of Education certified agency, for example the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough assessment regarding their curriculum, teachers and facilities. So not only does accreditation help establish that you will receive exceptional training, but it can also assist in acquiring a student loan or financial assistance which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools frequently have the benefit of having modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been open long enough to acquire an accreditation or to develop a reputation. Conversely, older schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a sustained history of excellence and received one or more accreditations. Also, the longer 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 cooking schools. And older, more reputable schools commonly update their facilities and equipment. The significant takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an excellent reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary arts colleges you are assessing. Lower graduation rates are red flags that numerous students were unhappy with either the schools or the training and quit before graduating. They might also suggest that the instructors were not qualified to teach the curriculum. Request that the schools provide their job placement rates also. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a great or excellent reputation within the cooking field, in addition to a wide network of professional connections. Be suspicious of any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The culinary school that you choose should be within commuting distance of your Kingman home, unless you are able to move. You may look into attending classes online, but you would still need to travel for your externship program. Alternatively, maybe you have opted to enroll in a particular culinary arts school located in another state due to its reputation and programs 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 future living conditions. Look over the training facilities in person to make certain they are up to date and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that many schools focus their job assistance programs within their regional communities, so choose a location where you will satisfied working.
Class Sizes. The most effective way to learn how to cook is with plenty of personalized instruction. If the culinary arts program you enroll in has bigger classes, you will probably get limited personal attention from the teachers. The ideal means to evaluate the communication and interaction between teachers and students is to attend some of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are pleased with the level of attention they get in class as well as the entire course of training. Also, speak with several of the teachers and determine what their teaching styles are as well as their backgrounds and credentials.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a cooking program 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 busy lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Kingman AZ because of your work schedule, verify that the school you select offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the cooking program 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 family, work or other commitments.