How to Select the Right Culinary School near Girdwood Alaska
Deciding to become a chef and enrolling in a culinary school near Girdwood AK is a great career choice. Not only will you be taught how to cook incredible meals or prepare elegant desserts, you’ll also be able to make a good living doing it. However, now that you’ve made the decision, exactly how do you undertake picking a culinary college? What criteria should you review and compare among the culinary programs before arriving at your final choice ? Keep in mind that you must choose the right program and degree in order to be a success in the hospitality and restaurant industry. There are a wide range of alternatives to select from, beginning with a certificate or diploma program and advancing to earning an undergraduate as well as a graduate degree. You may attend a small cooking college, an online program, or enroll in a renowned culinary institute that offers more advanced degrees.
The kind of degree and school you decide on will undoubtedly be based upon the amount of time and money you can afford to commit, as well as your ultimate career goal. Once you have determined what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can start evaluating the culinary arts schools that meet your preliminary qualifications. Depending on the certification and type of culinary school you decide on, you can be employed as a professional cook or chef in as little as six months. Obviously more advanced degrees and training will take longer, which we will cover shortly. So before we delve more into the method of choosing a school, let’s talk a little more about the degree and culinary school alternatives that are available near Girdwood AK.
Culinary Institute Degree Programs
As with a number of other industries or trades in Girdwood AK, there are several degree options that are offered in the culinary arts. At the most basic level, you can enroll in a local cooking course, which are more casual in nature and can run from several hours to a few weeks. Often a certificate or a diploma is awarded upon completion. They may be comprehensive in nature, such as instructing how to cook Spanish meals, or they can be quite targeted and focus on one dish, such as Crepes Suzette. Naturally if you are searching for a more formal education suitable for a career in the restaurant profession, you will most likely choose to enroll in a degree program. With a degree program, you will be obligated to commit significantly more time.
- Associate’s Degrees can take anywhere from six months to 2 years to finish.
- Bachelor’s Degrees generally require as much as four years of training.
- Masters Degrees may take an additional two years or more after attaining a Bachelor’s.
Even more advanced training alternatives may be offered, including specialized or Doctoral programs offered by culinary arts institutes. Probably the most important point to bear in mind when determining which degree to strive for is making sure that it supplies the degree and education required to advance your ultimate career goals.
Options for Cooking Institutes
After you have made your selection regarding the type of instruction and degree that you wish to pursue, you can begin your search for the culinary school, college or institute that offers it. For example, if your goal is to become a chef specializing in French cuisine, then obviously you will focus on those institutes that offer the appropriate training. Or you can opt for a college based on its reputation or other factors (we’ll discuss several of those later) and then choose the best degree program offered that is simpatico with your career goals in Girdwood AK. However you arrive at your decision, cooking schools normally fit within 3 distinct categories:
- Cooking Schools. Certain cooking schools do offer degree programs, but in most cases they offer certificates or diplomas. Their courses tend to be more focused in nature, and they can last anywhere from one or two months to as long as 3 to 4 years.
- Community Colleges. Regional community colleges can be more affordable than most private schools and many have exceptional programs. They almost solely offer Associate’s Degrees and are founded and maintained by either local or state governments.
- Culinary Arts Schools and Institutes. The more advanced training and degrees are furnished by culinary arts schools and institutes. A few institutes provide the most renowned and highest level of training in academia. Unfortunately, since they are private schools they often can be more costly than their public counterparts, some a lot more.
Picking a culinary arts school will not only be dependent on the kind of degree or program you want to pursue, but also the amount of money you have to spend on your education. If you decide to attend a public institution to lower expenses, keep in mind that out-of-state residents generally have to pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. In addition, many community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition rates for local residents. So be sure to research the public options within Alaska and also within the Girdwood AK area to find the most economical options.
Culinary Online Training Programs
A number of prospective students may discover that there are no cooking institutes that are within travelling distance of their Girdwood AK home. One option is to enroll in online classes within the convenience of one’s home. The practicality and flexibility makes it the best solution for some students that are still working full time while going to school. In addition there are more programs online than ever that are accredited. Bear in mind that a substantial part of the instruction will be furnished under an externship. Externships are programs where students train under local chefs or other culinary arts practitioners to ensure that they receive hands-on training outside of the internet classroom. Just make sure that the online school you decide on is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education approved organization (more on this later). So if you are disciplined enough to be able to attend classes and study using this more independent fashion, obtaining a culinary online degree might be the right option for you.
Evaluating Cooking Institutions
By now you should have made a decision regarding the type of degree that you wish to attain, and if you would like to enroll in a private or a public institution. Since there a large number of culinary colleges in the Girdwood area and within the United States, you will want to create a checklist of important qualifiers so that you can begin narrowing your options. Some obvious qualifiers, for example cost and location are an excellent place to start. But deciding on a school because it is the closest or the least expensive is not the optimal way to make a decision regarding your education. There are other criteria, such as reputation and accreditation that you should review also. Therefore, below are some key areas that you should investigate for each school as you compare and contrast them and make your final choice.
Accreditation. It’s imperative that the culinary arts program you select has some type of accreditation from either a local or a national organization. As previously mentioned, the accrediting authority should be a U.S. Department of Education recognized organization, for example the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a thorough assessment relating to their curriculum, instructors and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help establish that you will receive exceptional training, but it may also help in acquiring a student loan or financial assistance which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
Age. Recently established schools generally have the benefit of possessing modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been in operation long enough to garner an accreditation or to establish a reputation. On the other hand, older schools may still be using their original, dated equipment, but have established a long track record of excellence and received one or more accreditations. Also, the longer a school has operated, the more alumni the school can reach out to for its job placement program. Obviously there is some give and take based on the age of the culinary arts schools. And older, more highly regarded schools commonly update their facilities and equipment. The important takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a state-of-the-art facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. Initially, ask what the graduation rates are for the culinary institutes you are looking at. Lower graduation rates are red flags that a number of students were unhappy with either the institutes or the training and quit before graduating. They may also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to teach the curriculum. Request that the schools furnish their job placement rates as well. If a school has a high job placement rate, it will help confirm that it has a good or exceptional reputation within the culinary community, in addition to a large network of professional contacts. Be skeptical of any school that will not supply this information.
Location. The cooking school that you enroll in should be within commuting distance of your Girdwood home, unless you are willing to move. You may look into attending college online, but you would still need to travel for your externship program. On the other hand, maybe you have opted to go to a specific culinary institute located in another state because of its prominence and programs offered. It would be a good idea to pay a visit to the campus before enrolling, to make sure that you are satisfied with the location and your prospective living conditions. Tour the training facilities personally to make sure they are modern and that the equipment is state of the art. Remember also that many schools target their job assistance programs within their regional communities, so select a location where you will be happy working.
Class Sizes. The ideal method to learn how to cook is with plenty of personalized instruction. If the culinary arts college you enroll in has large classes, you will probably receive minimal personal attention from the instructors. The best manner in which to evaluate the communication and interaction between teachers and students is to audit a few of the classes. Ask a couple of the students what their experience has been. Find out if they are pleased with the amount of attention they receive in class in addition to the overall training. Also, talk with a couple of the teachers and determine what their teaching philosophies are as well as their histories and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary college if you will not be able to attend the classes. Therefore confirm that the school you choose has available class scheduling that will work with your active lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays due to your work schedule, verify that the school you choose offers either weekend or night classes. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the cooking school has a part-time option. Also, find out what the make-up policy is if you must miss a class because of family, work or other obligations.
Enrolling in a Culinary Arts Program near Girdwood Alaska?
If you are considering attending culinary school near Girdwood AK, following is some interesting and useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Girdwood, Anchorage, Alaska
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of Downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Originally called "Glacier City," Girdwood was founded as a supply camp for placer gold miners with claims along the creeks feeding Turnagain Arm. It was renamed for Colonel James Girdwood, a Belfast-born, Scots-Irish entrepreneur and linen merchant who staked the first four gold claims along Crow Creek in 1896.
Find the Right Chef Training Girdwood Alaska
A rewarding career in the restaurant and hospitality industry is predicated upon enrolling in the ideal culinary institute. As we have covered, there are a number of things that you must consider when comparing schools, including their accreditation, reputations, and training facilities. As with any career decision, you must begin by compiling information, and the optimal means to accomplish that is by getting in touch with culinary institutes directly, either face to face or by phone. If you’re unsure about which schools to look into, you may want to think about asking chefs in your location about any culinary arts schools they recommend. Afterwards go on the Internet to look into these schools even more before contacting them. You originally came to this website due to your interest in Chef Training. However, by taking the time to exhaustively evaluate each of your education alternatives, you will find yourself in a better position to make an enlightened decision. And when you choose the ideal school, you will have a great beginning toward your goal of becoming a chef in Girdwood AK.
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