Benefits of a Culinary Community College Education
Going to community college for your culinary institute degree can be a great career move – provided you know how to leverage your assets for the best post-graduation job. Like all education and career decisions, it's up to you to determine how important issues like price, prestige, and preparation count.
In most cases, community colleges carry less prestige than their culinary counterparts like the Institute of Culinary Education, the Culinary Institute of America, or Le Cordon Bleu (Closed Now). These "big name" culinary colleges continually churn out top contenders in the world of cuisine, and many of the celebrity chefs we know today came from a higher-end educational facility. However, this isn't to say that you can't get good training at a community college. In many cases, your culinary education is only as good as the effort you put into it; for example, excelling at a community college program can be much more beneficial than struggling at one of the more expensive schools.
One of the best perks of community college training is the price tag. Community college culinary programs are the least expensive ones out there. Although you can almost always expect to attend classes for two years, most annual tuition costs fall at or under $3,000. Because community colleges are geared toward adult learners, there might be greater flexibility in class times for working professionals, too.
Community colleges also tend to be vocationally-minded, which is a benefit for any culinary student with employment on the mind. These types of educational facilities strive to give graduates the tools they need to find jobs, even if that means sacrificing a little bit of the “art” side of a culinary arts degree for the more practical applications in commercial cooking.
The most important consideration in determining where to go to culinary school is the path of your future career. Community college training is ideal for those who want to start working in entry-level kitchen positions or other commercial-type kitchens, or those who want an Associate Degree that might be applicable for cross-career opportunities.