What Training Is Necessary for a Career in Pastry Decoration?

You can receive training in the pastry arts through undergraduate degree programs at various levels. Read on to find out more about the skills you need to become a pastry decorator and to learn about a couple schools that offer degrees and certificates in pastry decoration. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Training for a Pastry Decoration Career

Formal training for pastry decoration is not always necessary, although experience in the industry is important. Employers may request that you know how to use various icings and decoration techniques and be familiar with packaging and labeling pastries and cakes, and some jobs may require 1-2 years of professional work experience. However, pastry chefs, who may both bake and decorate confections, may need several additional years of experience, and formal training in pastry and baking or the culinary arts is typically preferred by employers.

If you would like to complete formal training, you may choose among diploma, certificate and associate's degree programs in the pastry arts. While programs in pastry decoration specifically are not commonly offered, you may find cake decorating or baking and pastry arts programs.

Important Facts About Pastry Decoration

Median Salary (2019) $30,351 for cake decorators*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% for all bakers**
Similar Occupations Cook, food preparation worker, head chef
Professional Certification Several levels of professional certification are available

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Necessary Skills

Pastry decorators need training in the sugar and pastry arts. Pastry decorators often work in bakeries to design and embellish a variety of pastries, ranging from cakes and cookies to tarts and pies. As a pastry decorator, you may tint and dye the icing and then spread or pipe it onto the pastries. The skills necessary for a career in pastry decoration include the following:

  • Frosting and filling cakes
  • Working with fondant
  • Painting and piping pastries
  • Cutting and trimming pastries to desired size
  • Creating petals and other designs
  • Doweling and leveling tiered cakes
  • Working with attention to detail and quality
  • Using cake toppers and other decorating materials
  • Working with customers and taking special orders
  • Finding decorating inspiration

Example Schools

Madison Area Technical College

Madison Area Technical College (MATC) in Madison, WI, offers a 1-year technical diploma program in baking and decorative arts. The program emphasizes various pastry decoration concepts, such as cake decorating and sugar and chocolate work. The pastry arts program at MATC is accredited by the American Culinary Federation and the Retail Bakers of America.

Houston Community College

Houston Community College (HCC) in Houston, TX, offers a few certificate and degree options to students interested in careers in pastry decoration. It has a 17-credit certificate program in pastry cooking that includes classes in baking principles, breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, pies and cake decorating. Or, you could enroll in a 41-credit certificate program or a 2-year, 62-credit associate's degree program in baking and pastry (the associate's degree program includes general education classes). Throughout the baking and pastry certificate and degree programs, you can take a number of pastry courses, including the following:

  • Tarts, pies, cookies and teacakes
  • Pâte à choux, laminated dough and donuts
  • Confections and chocolates
  • Advanced pastries shop
  • Cake decorating
  • Wedding cakes

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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  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

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