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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How to Choose Among Culinary Schools?

Once the decision is made to be a chef, it is important to choose a school. Research is a key factor when it comes to choosing a culinary school. There are many factors that should be considered. The reputation of the school is a good indication of its quality. Alumni, journalists and businesses should be able to provide insight or references regarding the reputation of an institution. Talk to the students and faculty and see if they are happy. Accreditation should be investigated. It is important that the institution has the proper credentials and recognized by a national accrediting commission.

Location is also an important issue to determine. How far are you willing to travel? What is the area like where the school is located?  What is the housing situation? It is best to be able to visit the school to discover the answers to these questions. If possible audit a class to see if it is a good fit. Class size and student to teacher ratio are also areas to assess. It is good to find out what sort of programs the school offers and if those programs will fit scholastic and career goals. Institutions can offer a variety of programs from one year certificates for food service worker to 3 and 4 year degrees. Prospective employers should have confidence in hiring a graduate of the chosen culinary school

Cost can also be a determining factor. Compare rates on different schools. Find out what sort of financial aid is available. The most expensive school may not necessarily be the best schools. Another factor is school determination is career counseling. Look for schools with a high rate of job placement. Notice what sorts of jobs are obtained. A good externship program is also desirable. The school can match an interest in a specific food such as Italian or Asian and place the student in that restaurant to learn. Schools in larger cities that have more access to a variety of restaurants may offer a more beneficial experience. Faculty should be diverse and represent a variety of culinary styles.

 Schools may have enrollment or application requirements. These should be determined before applying to the school. Culinary schools are not just designed for home cooks. The food service industry encompasses a wide range of possibilities. The school can also provide for basic educational requirements, but this is not always necessary. A broad range of classes can also be important. A student may want the foundational information to manage a restaurant or open their own business. Online schools are also available. The most important determination is based on the ability of the school to contribute to the success and career goals of the student.  

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