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What Are Some Well-Known Schools for the Baking and Pastry Arts?

Many bakers, cake decorators and pastry chefs train for their careers by earning certificates and associate's degrees in the baking and pastry arts. Read on to learn about programs at three well-known schools.

Notable Colleges for Bakers

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the baking industry but are not certain about where to begin, below are a few schools that might spark your interest. Houston Community College, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Madison Area Technical College are each noteworthy academies that offer hands-on training and skill development in the pastry arts.

Important Facts About Baking and Pastry Arts Programs

Online Availability Fully online programs are available
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent and SAT/ACT scores
Degrees/Certificate Levels Certificates, associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees
Possible Careers Baker, bakery manager, commercial cake decorator, bakery owner, assistant pastry chef
Median Salary (2019)$27,700 (for all bakers)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)5% (for all bakers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Houston Community College

Houston Community College (HCC) offers a pastry and baking associate's degree. According to HCC, the 2-year program starts with basic food handling, sanitation and baking techniques and progresses to the latest trends in baking and pastry arts. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to produce various pastries and breads and apply decorations and fillings. Students who enroll in the 66-credit program take a number of courses, which cover topics related to the following:

  • Baking fundamentals
  • Rolls and breads
  • Pies, cookies, teacakes and tarts
  • Confections and chocolates
  • Cake decoration
  • Wedding cakes
  • Plated desserts
  • Food service systems

Milwaukee Area Technical College

Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) offers a 2-semester baking production program. According to MATC, the technical diploma program is accredited by the Retail Bakers' Association. Students who complete the program receive a certificate awarded by the Retail Bakers of America. This program helps students develop the skills needed to work in various jobs in baking and pastry arts. Students are required to complete an internship in addition to coursework in the following:

  • Baking production
  • Decorating cakes with icing and pastry bags
  • Sanitation in food service
  • Bake-off with frozen dough
  • Mixes and bases
  • Scratch baking
  • Managing a bakery

Madison Area Technical College

Madison Area Technical College (MATC Madison) in Madison, WI, offers a 1-year baking and decorative arts program. The technical degree program gives students the theoretical and practical training needed to produce bakery products and pastries from scratch. The program emphasizes the decorative pastry arts, such as working with chocolate and sugar, decorating cakes and plating and presenting desserts. Students typically complete the baking and pastry arts program after two semesters and a summer internship. Students enrolled in this program can choose from many potential classes, including:

  • Artisan breads and breakfast pastries
  • Baking theory
  • Chocolate basics
  • Experimental baking
  • Nutrition
  • Pastries and yeast dough
  • Specialty cakes and miniatures