How to Choose the Right One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Becoming a chef by enrolling in a culinary school near Lake Havasu City AZ is a wonderful career choice. You will not only be taught how to create incredible meals or prepare fancy desserts, you'll also be able to earn a nice living doing it. However, now that you've made the decision, exactly how do you set about selecting a culinary arts institute? Before reaching your final selection, what criteria should you research and compare among the culinary colleges you are considering? Remember that you must pick the right program and degree if you want to be successful in the restaurant and hospitality industry. There are a wide range of options to choose from, starting with a diploma or certificate program and advancing to attaining an undergraduate or even a graduate degree. You can attend a small culinary school, an online training class, or enroll in a renowned culinary institute that provides advanced degrees. The kind of credential and school you pick will undoubtedly be based on the amount of time and money you can afford to invest, in addition to your ultimate career goal. When you have determined what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can begin assessing the cooking programs that satisfy your preliminary qualifications. Depending on the certification and type of culinary school you choose, you could be working as a professional cook or chef in as little as six months. So before we dig more into the process of picking a school, let's speak a little more about the degree and culinary school alternatives that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Culinary Arts Career Below!
Culinary Arts Colleges
When you have made your choice regarding the kind of instruction and degree that you want to pursue, you can launch your search for the culinary arts school, college or institute that offers it. As an example, if your desire is to train to be a chef specializing in German cuisine, then naturally you will concentrate on those institutes that provide the suitable training. Or you can pick a school based on its reputation or other criteria (we'll discuss some of those later) and then select the most suitable degree program available that is consistent with your career objectives in Lake Havasu City AZ. However you make your choice, culinary arts schools generally fall under 3 different categories:
- Cooking Schools. A few cooking schools do offer degree programs, but generally they offer certificates or diplomas. Their courses tend to be more focused in nature, and they can last anywhere from one or two months to as long as three or four years.
- Community Colleges. Local community colleges tend to be more inexpensive than the majority of private colleges and many have exceptional programs. They almost exclusively offer Associate's Degrees and are established and maintained by either state or local governments.
- Culinary Arts Schools and Institutes. The more advanced training and degrees are offered by culinary arts schools and institutes. Several institutes provide the most highly regarded and highest level of training in academia. Unfortunately, since they are private schools they tend to be more costly than their public counterparts, some much more.
Picking a culinary arts school will not only be dependent on the kind of degree or program you wish to pursue, but also how much you have to invest in your education. If you decide to attend a public institution to lower expenses, keep in mind that out-of-state residents usually must pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. Also, a lot of community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition fees for area residents. So don't forget to research the public options within Arizona and also within the Lake Havasu City AZ area to discover the most affordable options.
Online Culinary Arts Degree Programs
A number of potential students may find that there are no cooking schools that are within travelling proximity of their Lake Havasu City AZ home. One option is to enroll in online training within the convenience of one's residence. The practicality and flexibility makes it the one solution for many students that are still working full-time while attending college. Plus there are more programs online than ever that are accredited. Bear in mind that a significant part of the training will be furnished under an externship. Externships are programs where students train under regional chefs or other cooking professionals to ensure that they receive hands-on training beyond the virtual classroom. Just make sure that the online school you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized organization (more on this later). So if you are dedicated enough to be able to participate in classes and study in this more independent manner, earning a culinary online degree just might be the ideal choice for you.
Evaluating Culinary Arts Colleges
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you want to attain, and whether or not you would like to enroll in a private or a public institution. Since there a large number of culinary arts programs in the Lake Havasu City area and across the Country, you need to create a checklist of important qualifications so that you can start narrowing down your choices. A few obvious qualifications, including location and cost are an excellent place to begin. But choosing a school because it is the closest or the cheapest is not the ideal way to decide on your education. There are other factors, such as accreditation and reputation that you need to evaluate also. So below are some key areas that you must research for each school as you compare and contrast them and make your final selection.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary arts program you choose has some type of accreditation from either a regional or a national agency. As aforementioned, the accrediting organization should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized agency, for example the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough evaluation pertaining to their curriculum, teachers and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive excellent training, but it may also assist in obtaining a student loan or financial assistance which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools generally have the benefit of having modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been in operation long enough to garner an accreditation or to cultivate a reputation. On the other hand, older schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a sustained history of success and acquired one or more accreditations. Also, the much more a school has been in operation, the more alumni the school can solicit for its job placement program. Certainly there is some give and take dependent on the age of the culinary schools. And older, more highly regarded schools typically update their equipment and facilities. The important takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your school of choice will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. First off, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary colleges you are evaluating. Lower graduation rates are red flags that many students were dissatisfied with either the institutes or the training and dropped out. They might also signify that the teachers were not competent to teach the course of study. Request that the schools provide their job placement rates as well. If a school has a higher job placement rate, it will help validate that it has a great or excellent reputation within the culinary arts community, as well as a large network of professional associations. Be suspicious of any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The cooking institute that you attend should be within commuting distance of your Lake Havasu City home, unless you can move. You may think about attending classes online, but you would still have to travel for your externship program. Alternatively, maybe you have chosen to enroll in a specific culinary arts school located in a different state because of its ranking and programs offered. It would be a good idea to pay a visit to the campus before enrolling, to make sure that you are satisfied with the location and your prospective living conditions. Inspect the training facilities in person to make certain they are up to date and that the equipment is state of the art. Consider also that many schools target their job assistance programs within their local communities, so select a location where you will enjoy working.
Class Sizes. The ideal approach to learn how to cook is with lots of personalized training. If the culinary college you enroll in has larger classes, you will probably receive limited individual attention from the teachers. The ideal way to assess the communication and interaction between teachers and students is to attend several of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Find out if they are satisfied with the amount of attention they get in class as well as the entire course of training. Also, talk with some of the instructors and determine what their teaching approaches are as well as their histories and credentials.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a culinary arts program if you will be unable to attend the classes. Therefore make certain that the school you pick offers class scheduling that can fit in with your active lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Lake Havasu City AZ because of your work schedule, confirm that the school you choose offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend part-time, check that the cooking college has a part-time alternative. Also, ask what the make-up protocol is if you need to miss a class due to work, family or other commitments.
Enroll in the Right Lake Havasu City Cooking School
A rewarding career in the hospitality and restaurant industry is dependent upon deciding on the ideal culinary arts institute. As we have discussed, there are several things that you need to consider when evaluating schools, including their reputations, accreditation, and training facilities. Just like any career decision, you must begin by compiling information, and the ideal approach to do that is by contacting cooking colleges directly, either face to face or by phone. If you're not sure about which schools to check out, you may need to think about consulting with chefs in your city about any culinary colleges they endorse. Then go on the Web to explore those schools further before you contact them. By taking the time to carefully assess each of your education options, you will be in a more ideal position to make an enlightened decision. And when you pick the ideal school, you will have a terrific start toward your goal of becoming a chef in Lake Havasu City Arizona.