What to look for when choosing a hospitality school?
It is wonderful that you are reading this and considering school. School is a great way to learn, get excited and find out if a new path is for you. Whether you are looking for a school to help you learn something about a field or to start or change a career, you will find an option for you.
Going back to school is not restricted to two or four-year degrees. There are many continuing education options that are much shorter, more condensed and focused to help you meet your career goals. Such options award credentials like a certificate or diploma that shows that you have achieved a level of knowledge and allows you to positively show commitment and initiative towards a field.
Today is all about stackable credentials. These are credentials that you keep earning throughout your career and they contribute to demonstrate the level of knowledge and skill that you have achieved. As the adage goes, when you stop learning, you fall behind.
When looking for a hospitality school, you should consider the following factors. Not all schools are the same. Many are still simple correspondence courses without any industry recognition. Many have no credible industry professionals behind their curriculum.
Accreditation by a U.S Department of Education approved agency is your assurance that the school you are considering meets standards. These are not simple standards either. They are detailed and cover everything from admissions, to financials, to curriculum, to student services, to continuous improvement and more.
2, Industry reputation
How long has the school been around? When you Google them, does any industry connections show up? Have they done anything with industry? If not, or not much, chances are you won’t get much mileage or reputation from having earned the credential.
3, Association connections
Does the school partner with industry associations? Are they members? Or not even that? Affiliation with industry associations proves that the school is an influencer in education for the field. You want a school that does more than teach, but to teach relevant and practical knowledge with student services to help you succeed.
4, Industry professional instructors
Who teaches the programs? Are they working professionals? Do they have an abundance of experience? Instructors should be able to help pave the way for you. Not just teach the topics. They are there to provide realism to your projects and assignments. In an ideal situation, you would be networking while in class!
5, Student services/networking/ placement
Are there dedicated student service personnel and programs? The services offered by a school is often more important than the learning itself. When looking for a school consider them a partner, a friend, a guide and most of all, do you feel like you belong to the family?
6, Physical facility
Check out pictures of the school. Are there none? If so, there might just be a few programmers in a small office, thus masquerading as a school. The physical facilities give you an idea of the philosophy of the school and type of support and services you can expect. The school also represents you when you graduate. You need to be proud of your school.
7, The credential: certificate vs. certification
A certificate or diploma is an educational credential you earn. A certification is a credential that is issued by an association normally, that represents people in the field. For a certification, you often must learn materials, take an exam and meet a certain number of years working in the field.
If a course you sign up for offers you a certification, it is probably not worth your time and money as it will not be well recognized, if at all.
In conclusion, do your research when choosing a school. Pick a school that will teach you valuable knowledge. If it looks easy to achieve, it won’t be worth your while. Like everything in life, you must earn it to reap the benefits.