Art Institute of Las Vegas

Joined Jan 21, 2002
I was elated to find out there is now more than one option in LV. For culinary training there is and was the Community College of Southern Nevada. But now there is also the Art Institute of Las Vegas. In regards to the Institute, are there any graduates that can shed some light on the curriculum? Or perhaps any chef/owners that employ the graduates of the program have any words to impart. My biggest concern in going to this school (if I decide to) is transferability of the courses to another school. For instance, if I chose to get a bachelor's degree from UNLV would anthing I do at the Art Institute count. I know credits from the community college are ok, but their baking component is something to be desired. Anyone who can give me some advice.

Joined Mar 3, 2002
Call the school to which you plan to transfer. Discuss it with them. Every school/university has a different system. Many academic institutions will not accept for credit courses for which there are no equjivalents within their own curriculums.

Also check out whether there are any culinary schools that have an affiliation with an academic institution in their local that allows you to take courses in both to achieve an academic degree as well as certification in your field.
Joined May 26, 2001
Sounds like another of the chain related to the school I went to: formerly New York Restaurant School, now Art Institute of New York City, or something silly like that. As Alexia said, talk to the folks at the school. Only they will be able to tell you what might be transferrable. And only UNLV or any other school you would want to transfer TO will be able to tell you what they'll accept.

If they've got state certification to grant an associate's degree, something will probably be transferrable. But it's up to the receiving school to determine what.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
I agree with Alexia! When I transferred from a college in upstate NY to NYC (From SUNY to CUNY) my friends and I did not check to see if our credits would be taken by the school we were transferring to. Upstate was expensive and we couldn't afford to pay when the job market there was so poor.

They only took 15 of my credits and I would have had to start as a Freshman all over again. My friend was not so lucky. He was a Senior and with the credits the new school took he was demoted to Upper Freshman. And with a few grand in student loans to repay already.

Don't let this happen to you! Check how many credits they will take BEFORE you move.

Joined Mar 3, 2002
In addition, if you discuss the classes you intend to take in culinary school with the Registrar of UNLV BEFORE you take actually take the classes, then you may be able maximize the number of class credits they will transfer.
Joined Jan 21, 2002
Thank you for your replies, everyone. I didn't know that the NYRS was now an Art Institute. I'm not scared of corporate buyouts and such. Heck, the CEC owns all of the Le Cordon Bleu affiliate schools in the US. I hear they crank out decent students. Plus costs have me a bit worried. Why is a two year degree costing $30k? Is this insane or what? Then other schools like NECI or FCI along with the CIA are in this range or higher. With what it does cost to attend these schools, they should be out of business. What do these schools offer the prospective student that would keep them from attending a community college?

This is what I don't get. Let's leave cost out of the equation for now. I'm a potential student, let's say. Tell me the difference between the education I'd receive from the Art Institute as opposed to a degree from my community college. How marketable is my degree? What bugs me is this: As "prestigious" as CIA and Johnson & Wales are, can they tell me my credits from their school will carry over to a university? I know it's up to the transfer committee (or whomever does it) to decide what transfers. But at the core of any curriculum there must lie a nucleus of courses that are deemed transferrable. Courses such as history, english, philosophy and math. As I stare and compare the opposing curriculums I see similarities and differences. I see that the core culinary arts classes offered by both institutions are strikingly similar. AILV (Art Institute) goes more in depth in terms of pastry arts and elaborates on the culinary arts.

Bringing costs into the picture again, I must ask: Does the extra $25k place me in a better position in terms of employability than a graduate of the community college? This isn't a question for just AILV but for any culinary school. CIA and J&W included. The intelligent student must ask, why. Why should I pick your school over _________? Because ultimately it is us the student who picks them. Never make the mistake of thinking it is they who pick us.
Joined May 14, 2001
I attend a Culinary Arts Program at a local Community College. I also had the choice of three private local schools, including one Cordon Bleu school and one Art Institute School ( the third is brand new and only just opened this past winter).

I can only speak for myself but for me the Community College was the right was to go. I'm in my mid-30's and have already paid for one college education. The idea of going into a fair amount of debt didn't sit really well iwth me. Including my books, tools, and uniforms my costs are right about $3000 for the entire program.

When I called the Cordon Bleu school here it was like calling a car dealer. I go the impression that they didn't care about helping me make the right decision about my future...rather that it was more important for my sales representative to close the deal and get the commission(I had the same feeling when i toured the facilities). Honestly, this put me off to giving them $30,000 of my hard earned cash. When I toured I was whizzed through and didn't speak with anyone outside my sales rep.

When I went to the Community College for a tour, I got an extensive tour, met with many of the chefs. Discussed my goals and how they fit in the progam there. I also talked with students about how they felt about their program. I was pretty impressed with the whole thing.

My program has a 12-1 student/chef ratio. Cordon Blue here locally averages about 30-1. I pay 10% of their costs and get a lot more one on one time. My chefs all have at least 20 years experience in the industry. Speaking with students at the private school and seeing some of the chefs mysefl....they often hire very recent graduates to teach their courses.

Our program is focused around two restuarants. First semester we focus on lunch service, second semester focus on dinner service. Personally, I like this set up. WE get thrown in with a trial by fire experience....we're cooking for service from day 2. A lot of folks got weeded out that first week(dropping the student/chef ratio in my group to 8-1). On the flip side we didn't get a lot of time to develop skills knife skills are up to me to develop as I didn't have a class just focused on that. Guidance and instruction are there on teh matter(and menu items are selected to help us develop certain competenciess) but we do not spend time just simply focusing on cuts...

Before enrolling I went around town and spoke with local chefs about the school and their perception. I was always met with a very favorable response. Many of our graduates work at the top restaurants and resorts in town. Many chefs told me to be sure to contact them when I was finished. I was planning to set a stage up for myself this summer(didn't for personal reasons)...I focused on the very best places in town and every executive chef I spoke with was absolutely receptive to the idea.

On the flip side, placement at the end of school...we have the college career center and can work through that. Many of my fellow students have found part-time jobs that way. But it's up to you...we don't have an externship or internship program, nor do we have guaranteed placement. The resources are there and our chefs are also very well connected around town and willing to help students who help themselves.

Transfer credits, from what I understand here locally, the community college offers the only program where credits are transferable to most 4 year universities. It has to do with accredidations(sp??). Only the schools themselves can answer that specific question. ONe thing to look into...with this program I can also do a 4 year degree in Restaurant Mgmt through Northern Ariz Univ....without having to leave the comfort of my own home.

I don't think anyone can tell you what the right decision is. I have met many students at the more expensive schools who are very happy with their decision. I've been very pleased with mine. You need to decide what you're looking for in your education, what your goals and resources are, and find the program that best fits all those aspects.

Good Luck!
Joined Aug 4, 2000
The bottom line is that the CIA as with some four-year colleges is a private institution and therefore not publicly funded with tax dollars. You fill in the rest.
Joined Mar 3, 2002
Ziggy's comments seem very to the point to me. I'm not in the business, so take what I say with a grain of salt as I add a couple general observations.

It is likely that if you have a degree/certificate from a more prestigious school it will carry more weight if you are applying for work outside LV. It is likely that within the LV community itself, personal contacts and the weight of your particular recommendations with the particular chef who is considering hiring you will be more important than which school awarded the degree. And your personal accomplishments.

Furthermore, if you take your degree from a cc, it is easier for you to continue on to get a BA/BS by continuing your education at the university. It is not clear that this would be as easily accomplished if you go to culinary school (check with the university to find out). This might make a difference if you change your mind about cooking.

Mostly your answer is within yourself: what are your personal ambitions as a chef, what is the level you intend to work at. Where on the continuum between the local diner and The Laundry do you envision yourself?

If you see yourself at the cooking as an art end of the spectrum in prestigious kitchens, then the financial investment and sacrifice of a prestige culinary education might be worth it in the the contacts you make as well as the prestige of the degree and the contacts you make while acquiring your degree. If you see yourself at the cooking as a craft end of the spectrum, then it might not be worth the sacrifices. Only you can make these decisions. Either goal is honorable.

Implicit in your questions are broad issues of class, prestige, the cost of buying greater opportunity that most Americans don't want to acknowledge exist. Someone with tons of money and an extensive support network could apply to a prestige school (a culinary Harvard), pack up his/her family and go there. Period. Or they could go to college for 4 years, then go on to either a prestige culinary school or start out, perhaps for free, working in prestigious kitchen (here or abroad), hopping from one to another to build a reputation. People with less money have more constraints, have harder choices.

If you are confident in your ability to learn your craft and exercise it with imagination, if you are good at making friends and impressing everyone else with your character and personality, if you are a focused, inner directed, hard worker, if you are realistic about your self assessments and what your work requires of you, then you will succeed at what you do whichever choice you make.

If as I understand it, your choices do not include the small handful of prestige schools that more or less guarantee you entry into prestige kitchens all over the world. And if, as I understand it, you are probably staying in the LV area, then you might find out where the people who work in the kitchens you'd like to work in (both for a first job and career peak jobs) came from. To my mind that might help you make your decision more confidently whether staying in LV or not. The web is full of chef's bios. Pick the ones you emulate and check out their bios, get a sense of what has worked for others whom you admire.

There are several books by chefs and about becoming a chef. I haven't read Dorneburg & Page's "Becoming a Chef," but I rate their "Culinary Artistry" book VERY high in usefulness; it is very businesslike and use-oriented. I have the impression their other book is also. Perhaps others can suggest things you can reference beyond Bourdin's self-promoting ego trip.

Latest posts

Top Bottom