Professional Cake-Making Career Options

Explore the career requirements for professional cake making. Get the facts about job duties and professional certifications, education, and average wages to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Professional Cake Maker?

A professional cake maker is a baker who specializes in designing, baking and decorating cakes. They measure out ingredients, mix the batter, bake the cake and apply glazes and icings. Some decorate cakes for specific occasions, like birthdays and weddings. Depending on where they work, professional cake makers may be tasked with developing innovative cake recipes. They may also play administrative roles within a food service establishment, such as a bakery, café, catering company or restaurant.

The following chart gives you an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Training Required On-the-job training or apprenticeship; postsecondary training programs are available
Key Responsibilities Gathering ingredients, creating cake designs, making decorations for cakes
Certification Optional
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% (for all bakers)*
Average Salary (2015) $26,270 (for all bakers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do as a Professional Cake Maker?

Professional cake makers work at commercial bakeries, hotels, restaurants, catering companies and grocery stores. Some cake makers own and operate their own bakeries. Most professionals in this field create other baked goods, including pastries, cookies and breads.

Typical job duties might include gathering ingredients, creating cake designs and making decorations for cakes using fondant, chocolate or sugar. Other duties may include checking products and ingredients for freshness, correcting order errors, preparing cakes for delivery, managing employees and handling daily business operations.

What Education or Training Do I Need?

You may learn cake making skills on the job, through an apprenticeship or through a degree program at a college or culinary school. In an associate's program in baking and pastry arts, you'll study topics like decorating techniques, baking equipment, menu planning, dessert creation and hospitality management. You'll also learn about industry regulations and kitchen sanitation laws.

While not required in this field, voluntary certification could lead to more job opportunities or career advancement. You might obtain the Certified Journey Baker, Certified Baker or Certified Decorator credential through the Retail Bakers of America. To qualify for an RBA certification, you must meet specific education and experience requirements. For example, earning the Certified Journey Baker credential requires at least one year of professional experience in a bakery; you could become a Certified Decorator if you have four years of experience decorating baked goods.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for bakers was $26,270 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). PayScale.com notes that the 10th-90th percentile range of bakers made between $18,361 and $35,964 in 2017. The top paying industries for bakers included the grain and oil seed milling, water transportation, traveler accommodation and the recreation industry, as noted by the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

As a baker, you could choose to specialize in an area other than cake-making. For instance, you could find a job baking artisan bread. You could also specialize in making other kinds of pastries and desserts, like cookies or croissants. Another relevant career option is a job as a cook. Like bakers, cooks follow recipes to prepare food, often in restaurant settings, but the foods they prepare usually take less time to make. For work as either a baker or a cook, no formal education is necessary, but it can often help your job prospects if you have completed a degree or certificate program in baking or culinary arts.

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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