Since 2005, culinary professionals looking to advance their careers by earning a diploma from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) have been completing their two-year associate degrees in just 15 months in the college's associate-degree program for students with Advanced Culinary Experience (ACE). Now, the CIA is expanding the program so twice as many culinarians can take advantage of this unique academic offering.
"People often tell me they've gotten to a point in their culinary careers where they need the right degree to be competitive and take that next step toward their goals," says CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan, CMC. "The CIA is dedicated to helping even more career advancers move forward by adding formal education to the experience and skills they already possess."
The degree program for ACE students accelerates the education of nontraditional students who have at least two-and-a-half years of post-high-school, full-time restaurant or military cooking experience. By providing a focused immersion curriculum and waiving the externship requirement based on life experience, professionals with leadership aspirations earn their CIA diploma in 15 months. In addition to gaining the CIA's associate degree in culinary arts, ACE graduates also receive ProChef Level I Certification from the American Culinary Federation. ProChef Level I status is the first step on the path to becoming a Certified Master Chef. There are also tuition grants available to enroll in the ACE program.
ACE participants are learning with fellow students who have similar knowledge and experience, and the CIA selects only candidates whom the college is confident will be successful in this program and in their future careers.
After 15 years in foodservice, Andrea Martin enrolled as an ACE student, earning her degree in 2006. She is now a school food consultant and chef educator, successful in a segment of the industry she hadn't even considered before. "My education at the CIA helped me identify this as a possible career path,” she says. “I use the academic skills in evaluating systems and building more-efficient models for schools, and I use all my culinary skills in 'boot camps' for cafeteria workers."
Two sections of ACE classes begin at the CIA on April 10, 2010. To learn more about the program, call the CIA's Admissions Department at (800) CULINARY or visit www.ciachef.edu/admissions/academics/ace.asp.