Going Back To School.

Lounge By Sugarflowers Updated 22 Jun 2009 , 11:15pm by Mike1394

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Sugarflowers Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 5:59pm
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Now that I live near Dallas, there are several pastry art schools available. This is something I have wanted to do for quite a long time.

My question is this: Will it really make a difference if I attend an expensive, more well known school or a community college? Obviously there is a huge price difference. However, I would like to be able to teach rather than work in a bakery or restaurant. Due to MS, working long, hot hours is not really an option.

As in instructor, will it make a difference where I get my degree? Or should I say, would it make a difference to any one here?

Thanks for the insights.


6 replies
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Sugarflowers Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 2:11am
post #2 of 7

Anybody else have an opinion they willing to share?


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mkolmar Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 2:47am
post #3 of 7

Ok, I can help you with this one since this is my future goal also. I graduated from a culinary school through a community college which has a wonderful reputation.
The big thing is to look at the school and see if they are ACF certified. This is a priority. Trying to get your ACF certification on your own is a pain in the butt and the pastry cert. is even harder to pass than the general. The school I went to decided to drop their ACF cert. rating do to budget restraints. I'm having to re-take a few of the classes I already did in culinary school. Pass the exams and then go for the big dog test. This is were there is over 1,000 questions on the computer at the testing site and they pull 100 random questions. These questions can date back from before 1700 and you have to know who did what for which king and queen and what system they put in place that culinarians used to advance the field. If you pass the questions you then go to a practical app. test that is 4 hours long. It's just you at a work station and a judge with a clip board marking everything down. I know someone who failed there test years ago simply because they didn't like the way he labeled his trash. Yep, you don't throw it away you have to place it in a container and label it. It was almost impossible to pass the last few years because competition judges were the ones they were using and they nit-picked everything. Now they changed that and the judges are still crazy strict but not nearly as nuts as the national judges were. I recommend an ACF school to avoid this hassle. Community college or not make sure it's ACF certified. You'll run into some people who will turn you down flat if your not from an ACF school. I'm working right now at a care center and going for my certification. The chef graduated from the same school I did a few years earlier than I (the school dropped the ACF cert. my first year of school -- I was stuck at that point). He is making sure I am continuing to go get my certification because it means that much to him and others in the field. Do you need to be certified to work? NOPE, not at all, but it helps and you usually make more money if you are.
I recommend a community college since you can get the same great education for a fraction of the cost.

You do not have to have an education degree for culinary in order to teach in some places. Some schools prefer this since they can get away with paying you less. However, some schools require at least a BA degree in order to teach. This depends more on what level you want to teach at...high school/votech/college.

I want to go back to school for teaching culinary and advance to my BA but there is only 1 school near me that offers this program (it is actually a teaching program for any art - not just culinary) and it would cost me $40,000 to do so and that's with using my AA degree credits also towards it. As much as I want to, I just can't justify that money when I have 4 kids at home.
I've been asked to help at a high school teaching pastry this fall for a few months and I will be. I have no experience teaching so I'll more than likely do this as a volunteer basis. (I also will be mentoring a senior for her state finals project). I'm hoping this will give me a little something on my resume to prove I can teach and go from there to the votech school in my area (the school is state champs. for culinary right now) and substitute teach or get put on some form of the staff in the future. Just trying to decide how to play my cards right right now.

All in all you need to look at your finances and figure out what path you want to take for your goals. With the work you already do you may be able to step foot in a place without schooling and be able to teach sugar flowers and such. I'm not sure if you want to teach more than that or not but who ever gets you to teach for them should count their blessings because they will be lucky to have you.

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Sugarflowers Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 7:12am
post #4 of 7

WOW! What an amazing amount of information! Thank you so much. Obviously there are things I didn't know or even considered. I will start doing some checking.

Thanks SO much.


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mkolmar Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 1:55pm
post #5 of 7

I also would suggest joining a local ACF chapter near you. Make sure it's one who does things for the community and such. The ACF is designed to help to keep the field alive and to help the advancement of chefs/future chefs. You do not have to be a certified chef to join, you can even be in school still. I joined when I found out I was accepted to culinary school and that was 2 months before I started. Not all chapters are wonderful to be part of though, I'm lucky to be in a great chapter. I've been a member for a little over 3 years now and I am very active in the chapter I belong to. I was also awarded 2 scholarships through the chapter to pay for my culinary schooling. The ACF is a great place to network also.

If you have any more questions feel free to PM me.

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Sugarflowers Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 9:19pm
post #6 of 7

Thank you again for so much information. It has been harder than I thought to get more than how much money can I give them for school. icon_smile.gif I certainly don't have deep pockets, well maybe deep, but empty. LOL

I have wanted to do this for almost 20 years and my opportunity is here and I don't want to blow it.

Thanks again,


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Mike1394 Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 11:15pm
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Now to expand a lil on what she said. I did grauate from an ACF school. All I have to do is send in my diploma, and will have my ACF certification.

Also one thing to check out. How many awards have the teaching chefs won?

Personally I wouldn't consider the Art Institute. I emailed them once almost three yrs ago about taking some classes in the summer. They still hound me.

Good Luck,

Also look into no worker left behind programs for school financing

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