The fact is that graduates of formal pastry and baking programs are much more likely to advance in their careers and earn higher salaries than bakers who are completely self-taught. There are various baking and pastry arts programs to choose from, ranging from apprenticeships to certificates to degrees. More and more these days, employers want to see that a baker has completed a degree program at a reputable, accredited culinary institution. There are many benefits to completing a degree: networking, well-rounded education, hands-on training and fine-tuning of all your skills. There are both associate’s and bachelor’s baking degrees to choose from.
Associate’s Degrees for Baking
An associate’s degree is generally described as a two-year degree, although most associate’s programs can technically be completed in 21 months. An Associate’s in Occupational Studies with an emphasis in Baking and Pastry Arts is often recommended for people who are switching careers or who already have a bachelor’s degree in another field, because it complements the current skills one has without another four years of schooling. An associate’s degree focused on baking will likely include the following components:
Bachelor’s Degrees for Baking
There are also bachelor’s degree programs for baking, such as the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Baking and Pastry Arts Management at the Culinary Institute of America, which is one of the most prestigious schools for bakers, chefs and cooks of all sorts in the United States. This 38-month program is appropriate for new college students who are serious about being a baker, but don’t necessarily have much (or any) professional baking or pastry-making experience. This will provide a broad range of liberal arts and management courses that will set you apart from other baking professionals in the field and give you a leg up on the competition when the time comes to enter the professional workforce. With this sort of degree, you can enter into management positions in the culinary world, or you can avoid having to work for someone else at all if you’d prefer to open your own business. Positions such as bakery café owner, chocolatier, executive pastry chef and many other prestigious jobs will be attainable to you, which would be much more difficult without this level of formal training and education.
There are many variations on these baking programs around the nation, and for those just looking to get their feet wet, there are a variety of certificate programs, as well. Baking and pastry certificates are always good for people already working in other areas of the industry, such as sous chefs, who want to augment their skills and expand their horizons into baking. Degree programs, however, are almost always the best routes when possible.