Baking and Pastry Arts

chef teaching students in kitchen

Do you enjoy binge-watching cooking shows on television? Perhaps you grew up with a family member who was always in the kitchen?

Whatever drives your passion, consider earning a degree in baking and pastry arts.

Education & Training

Trade Schools with Baking and Pastry Arts Programs

While attending a baking and pastry arts trade school, students learn how to properly prepare, cook, and plate delicious treats and desserts.


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Educational Requirements

Apprenticeships

Most interested individuals attend baking and pastry arts schools or complete apprenticeships. These programs typically last one to two years.

During this time, students take courses on food safety, basic math, and other pastry arts classes. Other examples of baking courses offered to those interested include Kitchen Essentials, Culinary Nutrition, and Confectionary Artistry.

Certifications or Licenses

While completely voluntary, some graduates go on to obtain licenses, baking and pastry arts certificates, and registrations to boost their baking resumes.

For example, The Retail Bakers of America offers four different levels of certification. Candidates must take an exam to become specialized in:

  • Baking sanitation
  • Management
  • Retail sales
  • Staff training

Salary

On average, bakers make approximately $33k annually. However, new pastry chefs can expect to earn about $43k per year. Depending on location and expertise, these salaries can reach $38k and $59k respectively.

Below are average salaries and wages for bakers in each state:

State Hourly wage Annual wage
Alabama $13.81 $28,720.00
Alaska $15.70 $32,650.00
Arizona $16.22 $33,740.00
Arkansas $14.65 $30,470.00
California $18.73 $38,960.00
Colorado $17.35 $36,080.00
Connecticut $17.66 $36,730.00
Delaware $16.33 $33,960.00
District of Columbia $22.63 $47,070.00
Florida $15.47 $32,180.00
Georgia $14.66 $30,490.00
Guam $11.52 $23,970.00
Hawaii $20.21 $42,040.00
Idaho $15.54 $32,320.00
Illinois $16.58 $34,480.00
Indiana $15.19 $31,580.00
Iowa $14.54 $30,230.00
Kansas $12.97 $26,980.00
Kentucky $15.15 $31,500.00
Louisiana $13.29 $27,640.00
Maine $17.17 $35,720.00
Maryland $18.12 $37,690.00
Massachusetts $19.64 $40,850.00
Michigan $15.26 $31,750.00
Minnesota $17.73 $36,870.00
Mississippi $12.69 $26,390.00
Missouri $14.78 $30,750.00
Montana $16.10 $33,500.00
Nebraska $15.29 $31,810.00
Nevada $17.19 $35,750.00
New Hampshire $16.94 $35,240.00
New Jersey $18.31 $38,080.00
New Mexico $15.02 $31,230.00
New York $18.48 $38,430.00
North Carolina $14.14 $29,420.00
North Dakota $16.92 $35,190.00
Ohio $15.38 $31,980.00
Oklahoma $13.92 $28,950.00
Oregon $17.04 $35,430.00
Pennsylvania $15.79 $32,840.00
Puerto Rico $10.06 $20,920.00
Rhode Island $16.65 $34,630.00
South Carolina $14.89 $30,970.00
South Dakota $16.83 $35,010.00
Tennessee $15.82 $32,910.00
Texas $14.37 $29,890.00
Utah $15.36 $31,940.00
Vermont $17.58 $36,560.00
Virginia $16.97 $35,300.00
Washington $18.82 $39,150.00
West Virginia $13.88 $28,860.00
Wisconsin $15.55 $32,340.00
Wyoming $13.74 $28,580.00

source: data.bls.gov
Occupation:Bakers (SOC Code513011)

Career Overview

What Is Baking and Pastry Arts?

The perfect blend of creativity and finesse, jobs in baking and pastry arts provide hopefuls with the chance to combine their artistic abilities with a love of all things sweet.

Students enrolled in baking courses study different methods of decorating, cooking, and displaying confections for various events.

Most new hires start in part-time positions and work their way up through the industry. These jobs often include tasks like prepping ingredients, taking inventory, and cleaning the kitchen.

Employees gain more experience through hands-on baking training.

In addition to gaining knowledge of the field, aspiring bakers and pastry chefs should possess several positive qualities. Detail-oriented individuals who like to work with their hands succeed in these positions.

Likewise, strong math and communication skills help day-to-day operations run smoothly.

Job Duties

Bakers and pastry artists perform a number of daily duties.

They need to constantly check the quality of their ingredients and pastry tools. This includes taking inventory of necessary groceries as well as machinery.

They also record the dates each item was made or bought to ensure the freshness of each item.

Prep Work

These team members also prepare, measure, and weigh ingredients. Employees must follow directions and recipes precisely to create a high-quality product.

Organized and detail-oriented candidates that enjoy working with their hands do well in these positions.

Some additional job duties include:

  • Kneading, rolling, cutting, and shaping dough
  • Setting oven temperatures
  • Cleaning workspaces
  • Filling customer orders
  • Recording sales and losses for each day

What Types of Skills Should Bakers and Pastry Chefs Possess?

Precision

Bakers and pastry chefs must have strong math skills to efficiently complete tasks. Baking is a very precise practice, so it’s important that employees use exact measurements.

Workers need to quickly add or subtract fractions when creating recipes, weighing ingredients, and adjusting mixes.

Communication

Additionally, those looking for a baking and pastry job should have excellent communication skills. Whether it’s behind a screen or at the front of a business, employees interact with customers and coworkers on the daily.

Therefore, successful candidates possess a friendly demeanor.

Importance of Time Management

Time management is a key aspect of baking and pastry careers.

Staff members must often meet strict deadlines and production schedules when crafting goodies for corporate events, birthday parties, or weddings.

They may also need to juggle multiple projects at once and should divide their time accordingly.

Other Useful Traits for People in This Field

  • Willing to learn new skills and trends
  • Works well in a team or individually
  • Ability to complete tasks under pressure
  • Balances multiple projects at once
  • Possesses excellent customer service skills
  • Has a creative eye and attention to detail
  • Flexibility in schedule
  • Precise with numbers, measurements, etc.

Work Environment

Employees spend their days on their feet completing tasks around the kitchen, greeting customers, and filling orders. They often come in contact with sharp objects, hot surfaces, and heavy baking equipment like high-volume mixing machines.

As a physically demanding job, team members should prepare to leave work a bit tired and sore at first.

Schedule

While most follow a part-time schedule, new hires should expect to attend events and trainings weekdays and weekends.

Some commercial employers may require associates to work early mornings and late evenings, as well as popular holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.

Cleaning & Maintenance

To avoid any extra clutter, spills, or accidents, bakers and pastry artists should keep a clean workspace. This includes frequently wiping down their counters or tables and washing any used equipment.

These employees also organize their ingredients in cabinets or on shelves.

New hires learn the best ways to maintain their areas during baking training or while earning their degree in baking and pastry arts

Where Can They Work?

With their baking and pastry skills, job hopefuls can find work in both commercial and retail settings. Some examples include:

  • Grocery stores
  • Specialty shops
  • Factories
  • Restaurants
  • Cafeterias
  • Private clubs
  • Hotels

How Can They Promote Their Work?

The most effective way for beginner bakers and pastry artists to promote their work is through local events.

Associates rent booths or tables at farmer’s markets, craft shows, festivals, and concerts to sell products and offer samples. This gives the workers a chance to inform the community about their services, location, and hours.

Additionally, successful bakers and pastry chefs use social media and websites to connect with clients.

Here, employees can post photos of their latest confectionary creations, update customers on specials, and receive feedback through reviews.

Can You Work Remotely?

The internet allows independent bakers and pastry chefs to easily work from home. Those who prefer to use their own kitchens can produce products on their own time and sell their completed creations via social media or websites.

Because they must handle every aspect of the business, individuals who possess go-getter personalities typically succeed.

What Are Some Other Career Options in the Field?

Due to their vast knowledge of food nutrition, processing, and kitchen safety, job hopefuls can pursue a variety of positions like bakery and pastry careers. Examples include:

  • Service Industry Management
  • Banquet Center Staff
  • Wedding &
  • Food and Tobacco Processing Workers

Private Chef

Like bakers and pastry artists, private chefs create delicious meals based on where they work and what the client wants. These team members develop recipes, plan menus, and concoct good tasting and visually pleasing dishes.

Restaurant chefs make an average of $45k annually with room for advancement as they gain more experience. Alternatively, traveling or private chefs earn approximately $57k depending on their client.

What Does the Future Look Like?

As long as people celebrate special occasions with a sweet treat, the need for bakery and pastry arts jobs will continue to grow. Higher populated cities tend to offer more opportunities for specialty retailers, though individuals can find work at restaurants and grocery stores across the nation.

Related Resources

Becoming a Pastry Chef in California