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How do I Choose the Best Culinary School?

Article Details
  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing the best culinary school is the most important first step you can take in your career. Taking time to make sure a culinary institute is a good fit for your personality is very important. Even if a culinary school has a great program, you have to make sure it is a good fit for you and your personality or you might not be successful.

To choose the best culinary school, you should first determine your goals. This will help point you in the right direction. Do you want to open your own bakery or restaurant, start a catering company, or work as a chef in someone else's restaurant? Or, do you simply want to improve your cooking skills? Consider the specific types of cuisine you enjoy cooking, and what types of cuisine you would enjoy cooking in your career.

Next, consider cost and location. Determine up front how much you are willing to spend on an education, how long of an education you desire, and where you are willing to live. You may choose to get a certificate or an associate's degree from a culinary school, which will take less time and money than if you get a bachelor's degree or a master's degree. Be certain that the culinary school is accredited. There are free searches online that will tell you if a particular school is accredited or not. Keep in mind that scholarships and financial aid are also available for some culinary schools.

It is now time to start looking at schools more closely. Research how the classes are taught, and how much hands-on experience you will receive. Also consider the student to faculty ratio and the general class size, to see how much one-on-one instruction you will receive. Ask questions about the employment ratings of graduates, and if the school offers externships for real world experience in a restaurant setting. Make yourself aware of any requirements to apply to the culinary institute.

It is important to visit the culinary school in person to see the facilities and meet with some faculty and other students. It will give you a better idea if you will fit in and if attending the school will help you reach your career goals. If you choose not to attend culinary school, another option is to take cooking classes. These will not give any type of certificate or degree, but can help you improve your general skills to possibly make you more ready to attend a more formal program in the future.

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