French Pastry School or NECI?

Joined Mar 12, 2011
Right now I am deciding between attending the French Culinary School in Chicago for the 24 week pastry certificate or NECI's for their 8 month pastry certificate. I am having some trouble deciding. Al little bit about me…I have no prior experience (I want to change careers) and would someday want to work in a fine dining restaurant and then maybe own my own bakery. So I am definitely more focused on the more "fine dining" desserts so to speak. And I know most people's advise is try to work at one before to see if you like it, but I feel very unconfident anyone would take me as I have zero experience. Anyways, I was first leaning toward going to the French Pastry School as it seems to have a great reputation, seems more geared toward what I want, and it is also only 6 months. It is also very expensive as well though. (One quick side note, I noticed that  they use the metric system there. Is that normal in the industry?). I also saw they there are 18 people per class, and watching some of the videos online it seems like that there is not very much hands on with the teachers. I do plan on visiting, but then I heard about NECI and their pastry certificate. There are only 10 students per teacher. It is a lot cheaper and it is 15 weeks in residency and 15 weeks in internship. It is only the certificate and not the associates. I asked what the big difference was, and they said for the associates it is geared more for fine dining and the certificate was more for a cook who would work in a bakery. Since I do want to do fine dining, I don't know if this would appropriate for me. Also I am in my mid thirties and looking at NECI it looks really young, not that I care, but I feel I am little too old to be doing keg stands. 

Does anyone know which has the better reputation? I am trying to pick the place where I would learn more and most importantly have the better opportunity of finding a job after finishing from there. Any advise or wisdom would be very much appreciated. Thanks.
Joined Dec 16, 2008
I've heard good things about both schools so I wouldn't say one is better than the other. One thing to consider is cost. How much of a cost difference is it? 
Joined Mar 12, 2011
I would say it is roughly thirteen thousand more to go the Chicago Pastry School. The NECI one is only the Pastry Certificate so it is significantly cheaper.
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Looks like you have done some research, and I think that is a good start. For such a sizable investment, have you considered visiting the locations to observe the classes and talk to current student? Might be helpful in making your decision.

Good luck with your endeavor!
Joined Dec 17, 2009

I advise that you consider:

Schoolcraft College [Virtual Tour, American Harvest, CMPC Joseph Decker]

Gainful Employment Disclosure

Culinary Arts

Culinary Management

2012 Michigan Culinary Olympic Team

Schoolcraft College alumnus Paula's Patisseries

Grand Rapids Community College [Virtual Tour, Checklist, Heritage, CMPC Gilles Renusson, Angus Campbell, GRCC Cooks!, Where Are They Now?]

GRCC to Host World Pastry Cup US Tryouts

World Pastry Cup US Team Tryouts

Winners were announced for the USA world Cup Pastry Team!

GRCC Accompanies Team USA to World Pastry Cup

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