Associate's Degree Programs in Baking and Pastry Arts

Read about culinary associate's degree programs in baking and pastry arts, including online options in related areas. Find information on course topics, hands-on training, job options and salaries. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Baking and Pastry Arts Associate's Degree Program Involve?

You can enroll in an Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) or an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) program in baking and pastry arts. In addition to regular classes, you can practice your culinary skills thorough hands-on, experiential courses at the school's kitchens and campus restaurants. You may also be able to participate in an internship (sometimes called externship) working at a bakery shop, hotel restaurant, catering company or cruise ship.

While working in the kitchen, you might need to adhere to a specific dress and hygiene code. Programs might also require you to supply some of your own cooking equipment. Associate's degree programs in baking and pastry arts typically take 21-24 months to finish. You'll cover a variety of baking techniques and learn how to produce baked breads, chocolate desserts and specialty cakes. Common topics that a program can cover include:

  • Artisan bread creation
  • Baking technologies
  • Menu planning
  • Cake decoration
  • Showpieces and displays
  • Kitchen sanitation and safety
  • Classical pastries

Degree OverviewRegular baking classes, hands-on practice, experiential courses in school's kitchen or restaurant, internship
Program FormatUsually on-campus only due to hands-on nature of courses; programs in related hospitality fields can be found online
Job OpportunitiesAssistant pastry chef, baker, pastry chef, head pastry chef
Additional Certifications Working Pastry Chef, Executive Pastry Chef, Master Pastry Chef

Are Any Online Options Available?

Online programs aren't generally offered in baking and pastry arts, due to the supervised hands-on time you must spend in the kitchen. You can instead find a select offering of online associate's degree programs in restaurant or hospitality management. These programs focus more on the business and leadership skills needed to successfully run all types of foodservice and hospitality environments, from bakeries to hotels. You'll also gain knowledge about entrepreneurship, which can be put toward starting your own food or bakery business.

Assignments, lectures and tests can all be conducted online. Programs also might require you to have a printer, CD-ROM and sound cards, in addition to having reliable Internet and applicable media viewing software.

What Job Opportunities Are There?

If you earn an associate's degree in baking and pastry arts, you can become an assistant pastry chef and eventually advance to a head pastry chef position. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that chefs and head cooks earned a mean yearly wage of $52,160 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). You can also become a baker. According to PayScale.com, most bakers (from 10th to 90th percentile) earned $19,080-$35,830 as of July 2019.

After you've earned your degree, you might want to consider becoming a Certified Pastry Culinarian with the American Culinary Federation (ACF). To receive the certification, you usually need to complete nutrition, food safety and supervisory management courses and pass an exam (www.acfchefs.org). The ACF also offers several additional baking and pastry certifications for those with varying levels of education and experience. As you build time on the job and advance in the field, you could work towards the ACF's Certified Working Pastry Chef, Certified Executive Pastry Chef and Certified Master Pastry Chef credentials.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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