Confectionery School and Training Programs

Confectioners have a love of baking and all things sweet. Continue reading to learn more about the schools and training available to you, as well as the salary potential for this job and how to get professionally certified. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

The term 'confection' refers to many different types of sweets, such as candy, petits fours and chocolates. People who want to learn more about baking and decorating these desserts can attend confectionary training programs. There are a variety of training options available, depending on your long-term goals, including on-the-job training, an apprenticeship or a short-term certificate program. You may also decide on a degree program for more in-depth studies.

Schools Culinary schools or colleges
Programs Certificate, associate degree, and bachelor's degree; usually in baking and pastry arts
Training On-the-job training, apprenticeship programs
Median Salary (2017)* $45,950 for chefs and head cooks; $25,690 for bakers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Types of Confectionary Schools and Programs Are Available?

In formal education programs, confectionery training is typically found as individual courses through culinary schools and colleges. You may also find confectionery courses within a program on patisserie and baking or hospitality management. These programs can be found at the certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree levels. A few examples include the following:

  • Baking/Pastry Certificate
  • Associate Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Associate in Occupational Studies in Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Bachelor of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts

You may also find residency courses that consist of intensive workshops designed to build your skill set in making confections of all types. You'll most likely need to take your courses on campus only, due to a large amount of hands-on training required. Here are some schools that offer confectionary training, typically via broader baking and pastry programs:

  • Wake Technical Community College (Raleigh, NC)
  • Johnson & Wales University (Multiple locations)
  • The Culinary Institute of America (Multiple locations)
  • Johnson County Community College (Overland Park, KS)
  • Institute of Culinary Education (New York, NY)

What Other Training is Available?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs are another option. This type of training may not be available specifically in confectionery, but rather in baking or general cooking. Confections would be one area covered within this broader training.

What Will I Learn?

Regardless of which type of program you pursue, you'll learn food safety and preparation skills throughout your training. Some schools have on-campus restaurants where you can work and apply the skills you're learning. Specific topics included in your confectionery training may be similar to the following:

  • Sugar work
  • Chocolate techniques
  • Fondant
  • Marzipan
  • Flavorings and colorings
  • Showpiece creation
  • Pastillage (sugary dough used for decorations)
  • Production methods
  • Presentation techniques
  • Cost management

Can I Get Certified?

Since confection preparation is such a specific area of the culinary profession, certification relating to confectionery work isn't typically offered. However, earning a certification in another area of culinary arts can be beneficial in documenting your skills. Certification may be obtained through The American Culinary Federation. Certifications can be obtained at various levels and with different specializations. Those working with confections may be most interested in the ACF's baking and pastry certifications, since confection training is often included in degree programs on baking and patisserie.

What Is The Career Outlook?

Once you have finished your confectionery training, you can look for an entry-level position, such as assistant pastry chef or baking assistant. Work experience may qualify you for advancement to pastry chef or shop manager positions.

Although the BLS doesn't report specific data for confectioners, it does note that career opportunities for chefs and head cooks, including pastry chefs, are expected to grow 10% from 2016-2026. Jobs in baking are expected to grow 8% over the same period. In May of 2017, the annual median salary for chefs and head cooks, including pastry chefs, was $45,950. In the same year, bakers earned a median salary of $25,690.

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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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

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