Pastry Chef Certification Options

Find out about training options for pastry chefs, and get information about professional certifications. Learn about the courses typically offered, as well as employment outlook and salary. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Pastry Chef Certifications Can I Earn?

Pastry chef certification programs usually require work experience and continuing education. You can earn four types of certification through the Retail Bakers of America, including Certified Journey Baker, Certified Baker, Certified Decorator and Certified Master Baker (www.retailbakersofamerica.org). You can also earn your Certified Pastry Culinarian, Certified Working Pastry Chef, Certified Executive Pastry Chef or Certified Master Pastry Chef certification from the American Culinary Federation (www.acfchefs.org).

You are qualified to earn a basic certification if you've just graduated from a certificate, diploma or associate's degree program. Other certifications are tailored to students with more on-the-job than formal training. Regardless of which voluntary certification you complete, it can enhance your employment opportunities and demonstrate professional competence.

Certification Organizations Retail Bakers of America, American Culinary Federation
Degree Levels Certificate, diploma, associate's degree
Course Topics Pastry presentation, sanitation practices, food storage, knife and piping techniques, cost control
Median Salary (2018)* $26,520 (for bakers)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 8% (for bakers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Training Do I Need for this Career?

If you want to learn how to make pastries or become a pastry chef, you can earn a certificate, diploma or associate's degree in baking and pastry arts, culinary arts or professional baking. If you enroll in a certificate or diploma program, you may be able to apply your credits toward an associate's degree. These programs usually require that you attend classes in person to obtain hands-on experience creating your own baked goods and pastries. Some programs require full-time attendance, although you might be able to find programs that offer evening classes or a part-time schedule.

You can also apply the knowledge acquired in these programs to earn certification. However, you can also train on the job. Once you're an established chef, you might also need to continue your training by learning new recipes.

What Can I Learn?

Coursework in a pastry chef program will introduce you to basic food preparation, baking skills and sanitation practices. You'll then learn how to make cakes, breads, pies, cookies, fillings and similar baked goods from scratch. Programs focused on pastries will also cover the use of sugars, starches and chocolates. This instruction will also be provided in the form of hands-on classes. In some programs, you may have an internship experience.

Some programs teach you about food service, culinary supervision, nutrition, customer service and cost control. Other coursework might cover:

  • Merchandising
  • Pastry presentation
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Food storage
  • Commercial pastry operations
  • Knife and piping techniques

What Should I Know About this Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), demand for bakers is expected to increase about 8% between 2016 and 2026, about the average growth rate for all occupations (www.bls.gov). The need to replace chefs who leave the profession should help improve job opportunities. Demand may also be attributed to restaurant clientele looking for the convenience of not having to prepare meals at home. The BLS also reported that bakers earned a median wage of $26,520 in 2018.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

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