Intensive School VS. Diploma

Joined Jul 23, 2004
Hello everyone.

I was wondering whether there is a substantial difference between the marketability of an intensive course (such as FCI and Peter Kump) versus a 4-year diploma (a la CIA and J&W).

I am a potential career changer and have a bloody useful :rolleyes: degree in Anthropology. I don't feel that at the age of 32 it is worth going back to an undergraduate program where few of my credits would transfer but it seems the ~6-9 month intensive programs are very costly (and financial aid awards can't be stretched out over 4 years either meaning even with a large FA award, I would have to come up with $10,000+).

Any thoughts, advice?



Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I have no culinary degree but I like to give academic advice. My advice to you is: an MBA would serve you better :)

IMO you should always get a degree higher than the one you already have. In your case a Masters in something or other. You're gonna have to talk with the school of your choice. All your General Education credits will probably transfer which means you only have to take the classes required for your major. If you do a BA you're gonna have to stay two years only because you can't take Garde Manger II before Garde I. If you do an MA or MS it's still two years, maybe three.

Food for thought: An MA will make on average about a million bucks more than a BA over 40 years.
Joined Apr 6, 2004
Hey there mate!

I would go for the intensive program. I'm a student at NECI where we work in real kitchens throughout our study here. That really sold me. Another aspect that made my decision easier was partnership NECI has with VSAC. VSAC will cover your cost of attending school minus any federal aid. Very good program. You should check it out.

Best wishes
Joined Jul 27, 2004
As a graduate of an ACF apprenticeship program I would offer at the present age, you may want to look at a lesse intensive school program but one that allows for alot of apprenticeship time so that you can see if this is really waht you want to commit to ....the hours are crazy wether at school or work and you have to be willing to sell your soul to learn .........and you still have to make enough to afford to pay for not only the education but to live .......

Intensive school programs in controled enviroments are great as long as you have the time to devote to them ...but they are a far cry from the situations that you will run into in a real restaurant on a minute ot minute basis ......

just my thoughts
Joined Apr 6, 2004
I can't speak for other Intensive school programs, but here at NECI we work in REAL kitchens with REAL guest. We keep REAL restaurant hours as well. For example, I'm in the Baking and Pastry program...we are up at 3 AM in the morning working that dough.

Yes some things are controlled but the experience is that of real kitchens.

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