Entry level positions will be open to people willing to work hard, perform well, and move up the ladder. However, to bypass some rungs or to jumpstart a culinary career, a degree will certainly help. A wide variety of culinary training exists, ranging from one to four years. Nearly all graduates start their careers as an apprentice to a higher-level chef and work their way up, regardless of education. There are over 550 cooking schools in the United States alone, and more and more employers are expecting academic success from their prospective employees, especially in a tight economy. Of these, just under 70 schools have been accredited by the American Culinary Federation. Most schools offer a range of practical courses (cooking, prep-work, kitchen maintenance and organization) and specialization courses, for those with an eye towards the more lucrative chef work, such as pastry chef and regional and ethnic cuisine experts.