November 18, 2020

Most people would agree that education is for everyone.

But the traditional college model isn’t. Packing into a lecture hall, taking reams of notes, and cramming for exams — that’s just not the way everyone likes to learn.

You don’t have to attend a four-year college to get ahead. If you like to cook, consider culinary school instead! The specialized, hands-on training that students get in culinary school may be a much better fit for those who don’t thrive in college.

Here are some reasons why culinary school might be right for you.

Get Focused Vocational Training

One of the common complaints about four-year colleges is that the education is largely theoretical. You learn facts and concepts, but rarely put them to use. College is not job training.

At culinary school, everything you learn is immediately put into practice. After exploring a specific technique, you’ll hop right into a hands-on cooking assignment. Students get to learn a theory and then turn it into a skill.

Female culinary student cutting onions
Culinary school is designed to prepare students to begin a career in food. It’s vocational training, which makes it shorter and more focused than college.

So if you’re the type of person who wants to get out of school and into the workforce pronto, culinary school may be a quicker way to do that. At Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, you can complete a diploma program in as little as 30 weeks, or a degree program in just 60 weeks.

“I had already done three years of traditional college, so I wasn’t interested in doing four more….For me, Escoffier was a short program which is exactly what I wanted and what I needed at that time.”
Lexi Nelson, Boulder Culinary Arts Graduate & Sous Chef, La Tour Restaurant

No Irrelevant Coursework

Many students mistakenly think that in college, they’ll be freed from taking courses they’re not interested in. Then they’re disappointed to learn that a 4-year degree includes a list of general education requirements that have no relevance to their career goals.

If you plan to open a restaurant one day, why do you need to take Art History?

But in culinary school, every course is directly related to a future in the culinary or pastry arts, or food and beverage operations. While associate degree programs do include some math, science, and communications requirements, Escoffier has specifically geared those courses toward a career in food.

Instead of a generic math course, Escoffier students may take Foodservice Math & Accounting. Rather than “World History,” students may take World History & Culture from the Culinary Perspective, highlighting the role of food in history, religion, and politics.

Instead of a science requirement you’ll never use, study The Science of Nutrition to discuss how the body absorbs nutrients and global nutritional issues.

The most popular unit for Culinary Arts students at Escoffier is the Farm to Table® Experience. This course focuses on sustainability and the local food movement. For six weeks, on-campus students will spend one day per week visiting an actual farm or artisan maker to learn about the food chain and how their food is made. Online students get the chance to participate in weekend workshops as well!

Learn on Your Own Schedule

When selecting courses for college, students are provided with hundreds of courses to choose from. Then it’s up to them to choose what they need and fit it into their schedule. If that required English course conflicts with your part-time job, what are you to do?

Students looking for flexibility can attend culinary school online with Escoffier. In around 15-hours per week, you can complete your reading assignments, watch recorded chef demos, take part in discussion boards, attend lessons, and work your way through your cooking assignments.

Male culinary student garnishing a vegetable and meat dish in home kitchen
Online culinary school is perfect for students who need to continue to work to cover living and education expenses. No need to get up for an 8:00 AM class — unless you want to! You can do your entire course program between midnight and 4:00 AM if you like.

Plus, students don’t necessarily have to worry about classes being cancelled or disrupted, since both the students and Chef Instructors are in the privacy of their own homes.

Tracy Lorenz, President and CEO of Triumph Higher Education Group & Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts“Online learning is much more than placing ground-based curriculums online. It is a specialized process designed to produce the same student outcomes as traditional residential programs. It is both art and science.”
Tracy Lorenz, President & CEO of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

Costs of College vs. Culinary School

We know that college is largely theoretical, and some coursework is often irrelevant.

Then there’s the cost. The average in-state tuition at a public four-year college in the 2019-2020 academic year was $21,950 annually, or $87,800 for four years. And if you have your eye on a private school? Average tuition is $49,879 per year, or just under $200,000 for four years.

That is a huge financial investment for an education that doesn’t teach actionable skills!

With culinary school, you can complete an online diploma program for as little as $16,250, and an online associate degree for as little as $24,775 (2020-2021 pricing). Plus, there are loans, scholarships, and grants available for those who qualify.

By getting vocational training instead of a four-year degree, you can start your career with more modest loans to pay back, instead of the tremendous burden of up to $200k hanging over your head.

Smiling female culinary student cutting lemons

Network with Like-Minded Students & Faculty

A college lecture hall isn’t a great place to meet people with the same interests. Many fellow students will have different majors, and professors aren’t always accessible.

At culinary school, small class sizes and work groups let students get acquainted. Chef Instructors are right there to help and answer questions. Many Chef Instructors even give out their personal contact information, so they’re always accessible for tips and advice.

Escoffier Chef Instructor John Hummel“The cool thing about working at Escoffier is that we can run our kitchens our own way. There are learning objectives in the curriculum, and as long as we cover all of those learning objectives, we can do it in any way we want to…I think it is a cool experience for the student. Because when they move through the course, they see four or five different chefs, personalities, teaching styles, and communication styles. So I think it’s kind of fun.”
Escoffier Chef Instructor John Hummel

Online students get to connect with their fellow students through live classroom sessions and class message boards. And all students get access to the Escoffier Alumni Association, where they can reconnect with old classmates, meet new graduates, and share tips and employment opportunities.

What you know is important, but who you know can help, too!

Male and female bakers kneading dough

Get Personal Support at Culinary School

Without a support system in place, many students feel like just another face in the crowd at a large college or university. And students just out of high school often have trouble adjusting to a new system with less structure.

Culinary schools are much smaller and more intimate than universities or community colleges. This makes it easier for students to get assistance if they need it.

And to help students adjust and excel in their education, every Escoffier student is assigned a Success Coach or an advisor upon enrollment. Your Success Coach will work with you to overcome obstacles that are holding you back. These obstacles could be financial trouble, health issues, emotional struggles — anything that’s getting in the way between you and that degree or diploma.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our Success Coaches have been hard at work, offering their support and troubleshooting difficulties to keep our students successful.

“I struggled with school in the past for years, but with the help of Career Services and my Success Coaches, I graduated on time. I put a goal in place of getting 95% or higher in each of my baking courses, and I did exactly that.”
Kellie Trimble, Online Pastry Arts Graduate

Escoffier also offers job placement assistance to both current and past students! Our Career Services team will help you discuss career options that fit your goals. And when it’s time to secure your industry externship — a requirement for every Escoffier student — Career Services can help you with your resume, portfolio, and interview prep.

Try a Different Path

Even if you don’t hate college, as the costs of college have exploded, many are wondering if it’s still the best path forward.

If you’re eager to get out into the workforce, trying to keep the cost of education low, and want focused training, culinary school may be for you!

Contact our admissions department to learn more and start the transfer process from college to culinary school!

Want to learn more about culinary school? Try these articles next: