Turn Your Experience into a Degree from a Culinary Institute

By: Andy West

Many community colleges and traditional four-year colleges allow students to earn credits by demonstrating their experience. For considerably less cost than taking the course, students can take a test to prove their knowledge in the subject. If they succeed, they are awarded credit for the class without having to actually take it. Many culinary institutes are now offering similar programs, allowing individuals with a certain amount of work experience in the culinary arts to earn their degree without having to go back to school.

Earned credit programs can vary from one culinary institute to another. Various programs are offered to individuals who have worked in the field for at least four years; due to the students' prior experience, the program can go through the course requirements of an associate's degree much more rapidly than with beginning students. At another culinary institute, a culinary professional might only need to pass the corresponding tests and prove his or her knowledge of the culinary arts; the amount of experience required to participate in an earned credit program can also vary from one culinary institute to another.

Each culinary institute may also vary in how many classes you will be able to test out of. Some schools may only provide the option for lower-level classes, requiring even experienced students to take upper-level courses.

Another option that you can use to accelerate your degree is to transfer credits you have already earned from another school. Once again, though, each culinary institute may vary in what or how many credit hours they will allow you to transfer from another school. For instance, some schools will transfer only general education classes, requiring their students to take at their facility any courses that are part of their major. Also, if you are going to attempt to transfer course credits to another culinary institute, be sure to research the school before making a decision of what culinary institute you will attend. There are different accreditation agencies, and as a result the credits earned at one school may not be transferable to another.

Getting a degree from a culinary institute is an important step for anyone who wants to pursue or is currently pursuing a career in the culinary arts. Regardless of how much experience you have had, a degree from a culinary institute verifies to a potential employer that you have mastered the culinary arts. If you have worked in the field for years but don't yet have a degree to show for it, an earned credit program from a culinary institute can help you get the degree you seek more quickly and easily than if you went back to school fulltime.

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