How Long is Culinary School for Baking?
If you're an avid baker, chances are you've thought of taking a class to further your skills, and you may even have thought of going to school to pursue a career in the culinary arts. However, culinary education requires time, money, and dedication that many people lack, so you should carefully consider whether becoming a student is right for you.
One of the most important questions when choosing to go to college for baking or pastry arts is how long you'll spend earning your degree. If you're considering taking your love of food to the next level, then the time and energy required should be an important factor in your decision to become a chef.
Different Types of Programs
How long you'll need to attend any institute will depend on what you pursue. Some professionals may only want a brief set of courses to enhance baseline skills, but newbies might pursue a Bachelor's at a four-year university. Regardless, any culinary arts certification will include basic skills that you'll need as a chef.
- Professional Diplomas or Certificates
These short-term diplomas or certificates are usually geared toward people who are already employed in the hospitality sector. For example, a cook may earn a certificate in bakery in order to expand their knowledge of breads and desserts. While these types of classes can be good for gauging whether you want to pursue college, they're usually not recommended unless you're already established in your field.
- Associate's Degrees
A two-year program is the most common degree among culinary professionals. You can choose to pursue general culinary arts or specialize in baking or pastry, and you'll receive a well-rounded education that contains everything from basics to real-world experience. Plus, you can always transfer your credits to a four-year university.
- Four-Year Bachelor's
A full-fledged four year degree involves both kitchen fundamentals and business aspects or even gastronomical science. Attending a four-year college is recommended more for persons pursuing hospitality management than for regular kitchen positions due to its length and intensity, but most entry-level hotel or restaurant management positions will require this type of degree.
How to Decide
While you ultimately have to make this decision yourself, these steps will help you gather info and know what to expect when attending your given institution.
- Talk to Financial Aid
Many people choose to enroll in smaller institutions because they're intimidated by the price tag of big-name schools. However, many more prominent institutes will offer more generous scholarships, and students of four-year programs may qualify for federal financial aid. Therefore, look a bit deeper before writing off an institute as too costly.
- Take a One-Off Class
Attending a single, one-off cooking class at an institution that you're considering will help you make an educated decision about whether or not to pursue a full-fledged baking or pastry arts program there. A single class can help you get a feel for the institute's teaching style and layout.
- Reflect Carefully
Attending culinary school is a major decision, and a career in the hospitality industry requires long hours and demanding work. If you're not truly passionate about the industry, then you may want to reconsider investing your time and money.
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