What Is ACF Accreditation and How Important Is It?
Although there are many different types of accreditation for cooking and baking schools, the most well-known one of all is the American Culinary Federation (ACF) accreditation. The American Culinary Federation is a professional organization for chefs and cooks. In operation for over 90 years, there is no higher place to look for quality in training, professional development, and apprenticeship programs.
If you're serious about your culinary career, it's probably best to look for the ACF stamp of approval on any culinary school you're considering. This ensures that the culinary program:
Meets a minimum of standards
Is recognized by almost all employers
Is held accountable to a higher organization
Offers a curriculum that includes up-to-date practices
Is qualified to offer students federal funding opportunities
Hires faculty members who are proven professionals in the culinary field
Is recognized by the Council for Higher Education
A culinary school that boasts an American Culinary Federation accreditation also comes with a higher level of prestige. Students who graduate from a recognized program are usually considered more marketable from an employment viewpoint, and are more likely to work among peers of similar stature.
While it isn't absolutely necessary for a cooking school to have ACF accreditation to be a good program, it does come with an extra layer of protection. After all, the investment in culinary training is one that can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, and a program that is recognized by the culinary community as a whole can go a long way in opening doors for your future career.
If your school does not have ACF accreditation, there are other accrediting bodies that do carry some weight, including regional accreditation. Always be wary of accreditations that are funded and operated by for-profit organizations, since these types of organizations are of in the business of selling accreditations rather than enforcing quality.