The food-preparation industry is explosive. There are in excess of 500 colleges, trade schools and universities offering a career program in the culinary arts.

For a person who loves to be around food and cook finding just the right school can be a very arduous task. Because there are so many schools to choose from and more are opening up all the time its difficult to figure out where to go.

You must keep several factors in mind before signing up with a program at a cooking or culinary schools. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is about your personal goals. Ideally, what is it that you’d like to get from your culinary arts education? Do you see yourself being a world-renowned chef someday? Do you want to be one of TV’s iron chefs? Do you want to have your own cooking show in the future? Would you like to write your own cookbook of recipes? Would you just like to be a pastry chef and work in someone’s kitchen?

Depending on what your long-term culinary goals are will greatly influence your decision about what school you’ll attend. If you’re looking for something quick then you may just want to get a diploma and quickly start working in a kitchen so you can begin earning money. On the other hand if you really want to get into food science then your education will require longer study where you can receive a Bachelor or even and advanced degree.

Once you’ve decided what your career goals are you’ll need to look for a culinary or cooking school that offers a program that matches your needs. Make sure you enroll in a program that focuses on exactly the aspect of the culinary arts that you are most interested in.

There’s no point in starting a program that focuses on baking if you have no interest in baking. If you don’t know what area of study you want to specialize in, many schools offer broad programs that allow you to “test the waters” before you have to make a decision regarding your particular area of concentration.

Be sure to consider the quality of education from the school you plan to attend. Price does not always dictate quality of education but it’s a fairly good indicator. It’s not a bad idea to evaluate 3 – 4 schools and then compare them side-by-side to see which one offers you the most bang for your buck.

Make sure the schools you’re interested in are reputable and its imperative that you check their accreditation. Geographical location is also an important consideration if you don’t plan on enrolling in an online cooking school program. If you plan to move to a new city to attend a school such as the CHEF SCHOOL CULINARY INSTITUTE make sure you don’t have to commute too far from your residence.

Finally and most importantly learn all that you can about the total costs of enrolling in the school. Ask if the school has any financial aid available or whether they have any scholarship programs.

See if you can talk to some students that have already graduated from the school you are thinking about attending to gain some insight about their personal experience. Also try to get information about some of the places the graduates of a CHEF SCHOOL CULINARY INSTITUTE were hired and some of the salary ranges of those students.