The culinary arts industry is booming; earning potential now and in the future is astonishing, and many promising careers are beginning in the halls of culinary arts institutes right now. However, even if you have a collection of the best recipes around, you can’t simply go out and get a job as an executive chef. There are many other considerations in the culinary industry, and even if you’re the next top television chef, you still need a certified education in culinary arts.
If you decide that you are going to pursue a degree in culinary arts, you need to check out the schools and find the one that’s best for you. There are many programs out there, several ways to access them, and most programs are basically the same. A culinary arts institute is one such way. These are not inexpensive programs–they are generally private programs that are not associated with a state-funded institute of higher learning. However, if this is the program that will meet your overall and specific goals, it will be worth the money.
If you are simply adding to your education and skills, or just improving a hobby, an expensive college may not be for you. Consider a community college or a shorter program (if available). You may not want to spend a lot of money on an education you will not use professionally.
In either case, a community college may be your answer. The state in which a college resides subsidizes the tuition for in-state residents. This means that you are getting basically the same education as the expensive private schools, and the state is picking up most of the tuition tab. Don’t assume that just because it costs less that the quality of education is not as good–a community college is just as competent at providing a good education as the expensive programs.
Sometimes students are worried about transfer credits if they have taken courses in another institution or college and are considering going elsewhere. Although a culinary arts program may not accept transfer credits, those that have adopted the common course numbering system are finding it easier to take transfer courses from other colleges and programs.
Another concern of students is whether the program is certified. Always check with the institution you’re thinking of attending, and make sure its program is certified by the American Culinary Federation. If so, that means the program meets the standards set by the Federation, and the credits you earn there will more than likely be accepted by other culinary schools, regardless of where they are in the country.