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Evaluating Culinary Arts Colleges
By now you should have decided on the type of degree that you wish to attain, and whether or not you want to enroll in a private or a public institute. Since there a large number of cooking colleges in the Oro Valley area and across the USA, you need to develop a checklist of essential qualifications so that you can begin narrowing down your choices. Certain obvious qualifiers, for instance cost and location are a good place to start. But picking a school because it is the nearest or the most affordable is not the optimal way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other variables, such as accreditation and reputation that you should assess as well. So following are some crucial areas that you must research for every school as you compare and contrast them and make your ultimate choice.
Accreditation. It's very important that the culinary program you choose has some type of accreditation from either a local or a national organization. As aforementioned, the accrediting authority should be a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged organization, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a comprehensive review regarding their course of study, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive quality training, but it can also help in acquiring a student loan or financial aid which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools generally have the benefit of having modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been operating long enough to garner an accreditation or to cultivate a reputation. Conversely, more established schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a sustained track record of success and received one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has been in business, the more graduates the school can solicit for its job assistance program. Certainly there is some give and take based on the age of the culinary arts schools. And older, more highly regarded schools commonly modernize their facilities and equipment. The valuable lesson is that in the best case scenario, your selected school will have an excellent reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with modern equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary schools you are assessing. Lower graduation rates are indications that a number of students were dissatisfied with either the schools or the training and quit before graduating. They might also signify that the instructors were not competent to teach the curriculum. Ask the schools to furnish their job placement rates as well. If a college has a higher job placement rate, it will help verify that it has a great or outstanding reputation within the cooking field, as well as a large network of professional relationships. Watch out for any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The culinary arts college that you enroll in must be within driving distance of your Oro Valley residence, unless you are able to relocate. You may think about attending college online, but you would still need to travel for your externship program. Alternatively, perhaps you have opted to enroll in a particular culinary college located in a different state because of its prominence and courses offered. It would be a good idea to visit the facility before enrolling, to make sure that you are comfortable with the location and your potential living conditions. Inspect the training facilities in person to make certain they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Keep in mind also that some schools target their job assistance programs within their regional communities, so choose a location where you will satisfied working.
Class Sizes. The ideal approach to learn how to cook is with plenty of one-on-one instruction. If the cooking program you enroll in has large classes, you will undoubtedly receive limited personal attention from the teachers. The ideal way to evaluate the interaction between instructors and students is to attend a few of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are pleased with the amount of attention they receive in class in addition to the entire course of training. Also, talk with some of the teachers and determine what their teaching approaches are along with their experiences and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a cooking school if you will be unable to attend the classes. Therefore make certain that the school you select has available class scheduling that can accommodate your busy lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Oro Valley AZ because of your job schedule, make certain that the school you decide on offers either night or weekend classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the cooking college has a part-time option. Also, find out what the make-up protocol is if you need to miss a class because of work, family or other commitments.