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Comparing Culinary Colleges
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you want to attain, and if you want to enroll in a private or a public college. Since there are numerous culinary colleges in the Prescott Valley area and across the USA, you will want to develop a checklist of important qualifications so that you can begin limiting your choices. A few obvious qualifications, including cost and location are a good place to begin. But choosing a school because it is the nearest or the cheapest is not the best way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other considerations, such as reputation and accreditation that you should evaluate as well. So following are some crucial areas that you will need to research for every school as you compare them and make your ultimate selection.
Accreditation. It's important that the culinary arts institute 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 certified agency, for instance the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a detailed evaluation regarding their course of study, instructors and facilities. So not only does accreditation help ensure that you will receive exceptional training, but it may also help in obtaining a student loan or financial aid which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools generally have the benefit of possessing modern equipment and facilities. However, they may not have been open long enough to earn an accreditation or to develop a reputation. On the other hand, more established schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a sustained history of success and acquired one or more accreditations.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 assistance program. Obviously there is some give and take dependent on the age of the culinary arts schools. And older, more reputable schools usually modernize their facilities and equipment. The important lesson is that in the best case scenario, your selected school will have an outstanding reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. To begin with, find out what the graduation rates are for the culinary colleges you are evaluating. Lower graduation rates are red flags that numerous students were dissatisfied with either the colleges or the courses and dropped out. They may also signify that the instructors were not qualified to teach the curriculum. Ask the schools to provide their job placement rates also. If a school has a high job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a great or outstanding reputation within the culinary arts field, in addition to a large network of professional connections. Be suspicious of any school that will not furnish this information.
Location. The cooking college that you choose should be within driving distance of your Prescott Valley home, unless you are willing to relocate. You may look into attending college online, but you would still need to travel for your externship program. On the other hand, perhaps you have chosen to attend a particular culinary school located in another state due to 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 comfortable with the area and your prospective living conditions. Check the training facilities in person to make sure they are modern and that the equipment is contemporary. Keep in mind also that some schools focus their job assistance programs within their local communities, so choose a location where you will satisfied working.
Class Sizes. The ideal approach to learn how to cook is with plenty of personalized instruction. If the culinary program you enroll in has larger classes, you will probably get little personal attention from the instructors. The optimal means to evaluate the communication and 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 satisfied with the level of attention they get in class in addition to the entire course of training. Also, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their teaching philosophies are as well as their backgrounds and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no benefit to in enrolling in a culinary school 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 busy lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays near Prescott Valley AZ because of your job schedule, make certain that the school you pick offers either weekend or night classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, check that the culinary program has a part-time offering. Also, find out what the make-up protocol is if you need to miss a class due to family, work or other obligations.
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