What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Cake Decorator?

Cake decorators are often able find work in restaurants, bakeries and gourmet markets. Read on in order to learn about the pros and cons of pursuing a career in baking and becoming a professional cake decorator. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Pros and Cons of Being a Cake Decorator

If you have an artistic eye and fine coordination, cake decorating can be a highly creative, challenging craft. In a gourmet market or specialty bakery, a cake decorator might work directly with clients, drawing sketches to help them visualize a custom cake. On the other hand, bakery work can be routine, involving the application of base icing and a few rosettes to cakes and writing personal messages.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of bakers was expected to grow only 8% during the 10-year period ending in 2026, which was about as fast as average (www.bls.gov). Additionally, food service workers in restaurant and bakery kitchens face a variety of occupational hazards, including slips, falls, lacerations and burns. Also, the work environment can be stressful, with long hours and possible holiday work.

Important Facts About Cake Decorators

Median Salary (2019) $30,032
Entry-level Education No formal education requirements
On-the-Job Training Most bakers gain skills through on-the-job training lasting 1-3 years
Similar Occupations Chefs, cooks, food preparation workers

Source: PayScale.com

Training and Certification

It's possible to get a job in the food service industry without postsecondary education; however, a 2-year associate's degree in pastry arts could prepare you for a job in a top restaurant or specialty bakery. Associate's degree programs include training on modern decorating techniques, presentation options and equipment usage. As you learn your art, the canvas might consist of Styrofoam molds; once you master techniques, you can put the final touches on cakes.

Certification in pastry arts is offered by the American Culinary Federation and requires work experience or an associate's degree. To earn certification, you're required to complete both written and practical exams.

Job Duties

As a cake decorator, you might create tiered wedding cakes, specialty cupcakes or custom birthday cakes, as well as pastries or molded candies. You'll work with sugar in various forms, including pulled and piped, whipped into mounds of soft buttercream frosting or slipped over cake as a firm, fondant glaze. A cake decorator's tools typically include piping tips, icing bags, wire cutters, needle-nosed pliers, brushes, spatulas and an occasional piece of tape.

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:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University Global

    Purdue University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Johnson & Wales University

    Campus-Based Programs Available:

    View All Locations
    • Colorado: Denver
    • Florida: Denver, North Miami
    • North Carolina: Denver, North Miami, Charlotte
    • Rhode Island: Denver, North Miami, Charlotte, Providence
  • William T McFatter Technical College

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Davie
  • Wilkes Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Wilkesboro
  • White Mountains Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • New Hampshire: Berlin
  • Westmoreland County Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Youngwood
  • Sullivan University

    Campus Locations:

    • Kentucky: Louisville
  • Western Technology Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Oklahoma: Burns Flat