How to Select the Right Culinary Arts Program near Anchorage Alaska
Deciding to become a chef and enrolling in a culinary institute near Anchorage AK is a great career choice. Not only will you learn how to create spectacular dishes or prepare fancy desserts, you’ll also be able to make a nice living doing it. However, now that you’ve made the decision, just how do you undertake choosing a culinary arts school? What criteria should you consider and compare among the culinary programs before arriving at your ultimate choice ? Keep in mind that you must choose the appropriate program and degree in order to be successful in the restaurant and hospitality industry. There are a wide range of options to pick from, beginning with a certificate or diploma program and advancing to attaining an undergraduate as well as a graduate degree. You may attend a small cooking college, an online school, or enroll in a renowned culinary institute that provides more advanced degree programs.
The type of credential and school you decide on will probably be based on how much money and time you can afford to invest, in addition to your ultimate career objective. Once you have decided what your primary area of interest and budget are, you can begin assessing the cooking institutes that meet your preliminary requirements. Depending upon the degree and type of culinary school you choose, you may be working as a professional cook or chef in as little as six months. Of course more advanced degrees and training will take more time, which we will address shortly. So before we delve more into the process of picking a school, let’s talk a little more about the degree and culinary school options that are available near Anchorage AK.
Culinary Institute Degree Options
Just as with many other professions or trades in Anchorage AK, there are multiple degree programs that are available in the culinary arts. At the most elemental level, you can sign up for a nearby cooking class, which are more casual in nature and can last from just a few hours to several weeks. Generally a diploma or a certificate is presented upon completion. They may be broad in nature, such as teaching how to cook Spanish dishes, or they can be rather specific and concentrate on one dish, for example Crepes Suzette. Of course if you are looking for a more conventional education applicable for a career in the restaurant industry, you will undoubtedly choose to pursue a degree program. With a degree program, you will be obligated to devote considerably more time.
- Associate’s Degrees can require as long as six months to 2 years to complete.
- Bachelor’s Degrees typically entail as much as 4 years of instruction.
- Masters Degrees may take an added 2 years or even longer after obtaining a Bachelor’s.
Even more advanced educational options may be offered, including specialized or Doctoral programs offered by culinary arts institutes. The most important point to bear in mind when deciding on which degree to strive for is ensuring that it supplies the credential and education necessary to advance your ultimate career objectives.
Types of Culinary Institutes
Once you have made your decision regarding the type of training and degree that you want to pursue, you can start your search for the cooking school, college or institute that offers it. For example, if your dream is to become a chef specializing in French cuisine, then obviously you will focus on those colleges that offer the appropriate training. Or you can select a college based on its ranking or other criteria (we’ll cover several of those later) and then choose the best degree program available that is consistent with your career goals in Anchorage AK. However you arrive at your decision, cooking schools basically fit within three distinct categories:
- Cooking Schools. Some cooking schools do offer degree programs, but generally they offer diplomas or certificates. Their courses tend to be more specialized in nature, and they can range anywhere from one or two months to as long as three to four years.
- Community Colleges. Regional community colleges can be more affordable than most private schools and a large number have excellent programs. They almost exclusively offer Associate’s Degrees and are founded and maintained by either state or local governments.
- Culinary Schools and Institutes. The advanced training and degrees are furnished by culinary arts schools and institutes. A few institutes provide the most highly regarded and highest level of training in academia. However, since they are private schools they tend to be more costly than their public counterparts, some much more.
Selecting a culinary school will not only be dependent on the type of program or degree you wish to pursue, but also how much you have to invest in your education. If you decide to enroll in a public institution to lower costs, keep in mind that out-of-state residents normally are required to pay a higher tuition than in-state residents. Also, many community colleges and regional public schools have lower tuition charges for area residents. So be sure to explore the public alternatives within Alaska and also within the Anchorage AK area to find the most economical options.
Online Cooking Degree Programs
Some potential students may find that there are no culinary arts colleges that are within travelling proximity of their Anchorage AK home. One solution is to attend online classes within the comfort of one’s residence. The accessibility and flexibility makes it the single solution for a number of students that continue working full time while going to college. Also there are more schools online than ever before that are accredited. Bear in mind that a significant component of the instruction will be provided under an externship. Externships are programs where students work with area chefs or other culinary professionals to ensure that they obtain hands-on training outside of the online classroom. Just make sure that the online program you choose is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized organization (more on this later). So if you are dedicated enough to be able to attend classes and study using this more independent manner, attaining a culinary degree online might be the right option for you.
Contrasting Cooking Programs
By now you should have decided on the type of degree that you want to earn, and whether or not you want to enroll in a public or private school. Since there a large number of culinary programs in the Anchorage area and within the Country, you must create a checklist of important qualifications so that you can start narrowing down your choices. Certain obvious qualifications, such as cost and location are a good place to start. But deciding on a school because it is the nearest or the cheapest is not the optimal way to decide on your education. There are other variables, for example accreditation and reputation that you should evaluate also. So following are some critical areas that you should research for every school as you compare them and make your ultimate decision.
Accreditation. It’s important that the culinary arts program you choose has some form of accreditation from either a local or a national authority. As aforementioned, the accrediting authority should be a U.S. Department of Education certified organization, for example the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF accredited schools have successfully completed a comprehensive assessment relating to their curriculum, instructors and facilities. Therefore not only does accreditation help confirm that you will receive quality training, but it may also help in securing a student loan or financial assistance which are often not accessible for non-accredited schools.
Age. Newer schools generally have the benefit of possessing modern facilities and equipment. However, they may not have been operating long enough to garner an accreditation or to establish a reputation. On the other hand, older schools may still be using their original, outdated equipment, but have established a long track record of success and acquired one or more accreditations. Also, the much more a school has operated, 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 cooking schools. And older, more highly regarded schools commonly modernize their equipment and facilities. The significant takeaway is that in the best case scenario, your chosen school will have an exceptional reputation, accreditation and a modern facility with newer equipment.
Job Placement Rates. First off, find out what the graduation rates are for the culinary colleges you are assessing. Lower graduation rates are indicators that a number of students were dissatisfied with either the institutes or the training and quit before graduating. They can also indicate that the instructors were not qualified to teach the course of study. Request that the schools provide their job placement rates also. If a college has a high job placement rate, it will help verify that it has a good or exceptional reputation within the cooking community, in addition to a wide network of professional relationships. Be skeptical of any school that will not provide this information.
Location. The culinary college that you attend must be within commuting distance of your Anchorage residence, unless you have decided to relocate. You may think about attending college online, but you would still have to travel for your externship program. On the other hand, perhaps you have decided to attend a particular culinary arts college located in a different state because of its ranking and programs offered. It would be a good idea to check out the facility before enrolling, to make sure that you are comfortable with the location and your potential living conditions. Tour the training facilities in person to make sure they are up to date and that the equipment is contemporary. Keep in mind also that some schools target their job placement 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 a lot of one-on-one training. If the culinary institute you enroll in has larger classes, you will most likely get limited personal attention from the instructors. The ideal means to evaluate the communication and interaction between faculty and students is to attend several of the classes. Ask some of the students what their experience has been. Ascertain if they are satisfied with the amount of attention they get in class as well as the overall training. Also, speak with some of the teachers and determine what their teaching approaches are along with their backgrounds and qualifications.
Flexible Class Schedules. There is no sense in enrolling in a culinary college if you will be unable to attend the classes. So make sure that the school you decide on has available class scheduling that can accommodate your hectic lifestyle. If you can only attend at night or on Saturdays or Sundays because of your work schedule, make certain that the school you pick offers either weekend or evening classes. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the cooking institute has a part-time offering. Also, ask what the make-up protocol is if you need to miss a class due to family, work or other responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Culinary Arts Program near Anchorage Alaska?
If you are considering attending culinary school near Anchorage AK, following is some interesting and useful information about the location of your new school campus.
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
Anchorage has won the All-America City Award four times: in 1956, 1965, 1984–85, and 2002, by the National Civic League. It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most tax-friendly city in the United States.
Find the Right Culinary Arts Degree Anchorage Alaska
A rewarding career in the restaurant and hospitality industry is contingent upon deciding on the appropriate culinary program. As we have covered, there are a number of things that you should take into account when researching schools, for example their reputations, accreditation, and training facilities. As with any life changing decision, you need to start by collecting information, and the best method to accomplish that is by contacting culinary colleges directly, either face to face or over the telephone. If you’re uncertain about which schools to look into, you may need to consider talking to chefs in your city about any cooking institutes they recommend. Later use the Internet to check out these schools even more before contacting them. You originally came to this website due to your interest in Culinary Arts Degree. However, by making the effort to thoroughly evaluate each of your education alternatives, you will find yourself in a better position to make an informed decision. And when you choose the right school, you will have a wonderful beginning toward your goal of becoming a chef in Anchorage AK.
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