Culinary Arts Colleges
How to Select the Right One Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Deciding to become a chef and enrolling in a culinary institute near Lake Havasu City AZ is a great career choice. Not only will you learn how to create extraordinary meals or prepare elegant desserts, you'll also be able to earn a good income doing it. However, now that you've made the decision, exactly how do you set about choosing a culinary arts college? What criteria should you review and compare among the contending culinary institutes before reaching your ultimate selection? In order to be a success in the restaurant and hospitality industry you must pick the appropriate culinary program and degree. There are a multitude of alternatives to pick from, starting with a diploma or certificate program and advancing to earning an undergraduate as well as a graduate degree. You can enroll in a small culinary college, an online college, or enroll in a prestigious culinary institute that offers advanced degrees. The kind of degree and school you select will undoubtedly be based upon the amount of money and time you can afford to invest, as well as your ultimate career objective. When you have decided what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can start assessing the cooking schools that satisfy your preliminary requirements. Depending upon the degree and type of culinary school you select, you may be working as a professional cook or chef in just 6 months. So before we dig more into the process of choosing a school, let's speak a little bit more about the degree and culinary school alternatives that are available.
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Culinary Arts College Degree Programs
Just as with many other industries or trades in Lake Havasu City AZ, there are several degree options that are available in the culinary arts. At the most elemental level, you can sign up for a nearby cooking class, which are more informal in nature and can run from a few hours to several weeks. Typically a diploma or a certificate is offered at the time of completion. They can be broad in nature, for instance instructing how to cook French meals, or they may be rather specific and focus on one dish, such as Crepes Suzette. Of course if you are searching for a more formal education suitable for a career in the restaurant industry, you will probably choose to pursue a degree program. With a degree program, you will be obligated to invest significantly more time.
- Associate's Degrees can take as long as 6 months to two years to finish.
- Bachelor's Degrees normally entail as much as 4 years of training.
- Masters Degrees can take an additional two years or more after receiving a Bachelor's.
Additional advanced educational alternatives may be offered, including Doctoral or specialized programs offered by culinary arts institutes. Probably the most important point to remember when determining which degree to pursue is making sure that it furnishes the degree and education necessary to advance your ultimate career objectives.
After you have made your decision regarding the kind of training and degree that you would like to pursue, you can begin your search for the culinary arts school, college or institute that offers it. As an example, if your goal is to become a chef specializing in German cuisine, then obviously you will concentrate on those institutes that provide the proper training. Or you can select a college based on its ranking or other factors (we'll cover several of those later) and then pick the most suitable degree program offered that is consistent with your career objectives in Lake Havasu City AZ. However you make your choice, culinary arts schools normally fit within three different categories:
- Cooking Schools. Certain cooking schools do offer degree programs, but generally they offer certificates or diplomas. Their programs tend to be more specialized in nature, and they can last anywhere from one or two months to as long as 3 to 4 years.
- Community Colleges. Area community colleges can often be more affordable than most private schools and many 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 more advanced training and degrees are offered by culinary colleges and institutes. A few institutes provide the most highly regarded as well as the highest level of training in academia. However, since they are private institutions they often can be more expensive than their public counterparts, some much more.
Choosing a culinary arts institute will not only be dependent on the type of program or degree you wish to pursue, but also how much you have to invest in your education. If you decide to enroll in a public institution to minimize costs, keep in mind that out-of-state residents usually must pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. In addition, a lot of community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition charges for area residents. So be sure to research the public alternatives within Arizona and also within the Lake Havasu City AZ area to locate the most economical options.
Online Culinary Arts Training Programs
A number of potential students may find that there are no culinary arts colleges that are within commuting proximity of their Lake Havasu City AZ residence. One alternative is to attend online training within the comfort of one's residence. The practicality and flexibility makes it the single solution for a number of students that continue working full-time while going to school. In addition there are more programs online than ever that are accredited. Keep in mind that a substantial component of the training will be provided through an externship. Externships are programs where students work under local chefs or other culinary arts practitioners so that they obtain practical training outside of the internet classroom. Just make certain that the online college you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized organization (more on this later). Therefore if you are dedicated enough to be able to participate in classes and study in this more independent method, attaining a culinary arts degree online just might be the ideal option for you.
Comparing Culinary Schools
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you plan to earn, and whether or not you would like to enroll in a private or a public school. Since there a large number of cooking institutions in the Lake Havasu City area and within the USA, you need to develop a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can start limiting your choices. Some obvious qualifications, including location and cost are a good place to begin. But picking a school because it is the closest or the most affordable is not the optimal way to decide on your education. There are other criteria, for example reputation and accreditation that you must evaluate as well. So following are some crucial areas that you will need to research for every school as you compare and contrast them and make your final selection.
Accreditation. It's important that the culinary arts school you pick has some type of accreditation from either a local or a national organization. As mentioned previously, the accrediting authority should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized organization, such as the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough assessment relating to their course of study, instructors and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help confirm that you will receive exceptional training, but it may also help in obtaining a student loan or financial assistance which are frequently not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools often have the advantage of possessing modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been in operation long enough to earn an accreditation or to cultivate a reputation. Conversely, more established schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a lengthy history of excellence and earned one or more accreditations. Also, the much more a school has been in business, 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 culinary schools. And older, more highly regarded schools usually update their facilities and equipment. The significant lesson is that in the best case scenario, your selected school will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, find out what the graduation rates are for the cooking institutes you are assessing. Lower graduation rates are indications that many students were unhappy with either the colleges or the programs and quit before graduating. They might also suggest that the teachers were not qualified to teach the course of study. Request that the schools provide their job placement rates as well. If a college has a high job placement rate, it will help validate that it has a good or outstanding reputation within the cooking field, in addition to a large network of professional contacts. Be wary of any school that will not supply this information.
Location. The culinary institute that you choose should be within commuting distance of your Lake Havasu City home, unless you have decided to relocate. You may look into attending classes online, but you would still have to travel for your externship program. Conversely, maybe you have opted to enroll in a specific 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 campus before enrolling, to make certain that you are comfortable with the area and your potential living conditions. Check the training facilities personally to make certain they are modern and that the equipment is contemporary. Keep in mind also that many schools focus their job placement programs within their local communities, so select a location where you will be happy working.
Class Sizes. The ideal method to learn how to cook is with lots of personalized instruction. If the cooking institute you enroll in has large classes, you will undoubtedly get little personal attention from the instructors. The ideal manner in which to evaluate the communication and interaction between faculty and students is to sit in on a few 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 as well as the entire course of training. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and determine what their teaching approaches are as well as their histories and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no point in enrolling in a cooking program if you will be unable to attend the classes. So make sure that the school you select has available class scheduling that can fit in with your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend in the evening or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ because of your job schedule, check that the school you pick offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend part-time, check that the culinary school has a part-time offering. Also, ask what the make-up protocol is if you must miss a class because of work, family or other responsibilities.
Find the Right Lake Havasu City Cooking School
A successful career in the restaurant and hospitality business is contingent upon enrolling in the appropriate cooking institute. As we have discussed, there are a number of things that you must consider when comparing schools, including their accreditation, reputations, and training facilities. Just like any life changing decision, you should begin by getting information, and the best approach to do that is by contacting culinary arts schools directly, either face to face or by phone. If you're unsure regarding which schools to look into, you may want to think about consulting with chefs in your city about any culinary schools they endorse. Later use the Web to investigate those schools further before you contact them. By making the effort to exhaustively research each of your education options, you will find yourself in a much better position to make an enlightened decision. And when you pick the perfect school, you will have a terrific beginning toward your dream of becoming a chef in Lake Havasu City Arizona.