What's the Salary of a Wedding Cake Decorator?

Bakers specializing in wedding cake decoration create edible art using their knowledge of cake recipes, frostings and design elements. Read on to learn about how much these professionals earn and what their job prospects look like. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Job Duties

Bakers work in a range of industries, from grocery stores to specialty bake shops, creating an even greater diversity of goods. While some produce the variety of products required by supermarkets, others focus entirely on pastries or confectionery. Bakers generally order supplies and ingredients; prepare baked goods, such as cakes, breads, cookies, pies or pastries; monitor and adjust production to meet customer demand; handle special orders and maintain a clean and safe baking area that's properly stocked and sanitized. While these professionals in general are capable of decorating all kinds of cakes, some specialize in creating and decorating wedding cakes using gum paste, fondant, icing and chocolate.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Job Outlook (2012-2022) 6% (for all bakers)
On-the-Job Training Long-term training is common; internships and apprenticeships
Required Education No formal education is required, but certificate, associate's degree and bachelor's degree programs in baking and pastry arts are available
Similar Occupations Chefs and head cooks, cooks, food prep workers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary Overview

According to PayScale.com, as of September 2015, most cake decorators, which includes but isn't limited to wedding cake decorators, earned an annual gross salary of $17,626-$32,745. The same source reported that the median income for these workers was $29,437.

Salary by Employer

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted in May 2014 that bakers working for grocery stores made $25,440, on average. Restaurants and other eating places paid these professionals an average wage of $24,190. Bakers working for the deep sea, coastal, and great lakes water transportation made the highest average wage of $41,840.

According to the BLS, the bakery and tortilla manufacturing industry employed the most bakers in May 2014, followed by grocery stores.

Salary by Location

Additionally, BLS surveys indicated that California, Florida and Texas led the country in the numbers of bakers employed in May 2014. Workers in these states earned average wages of $26,490, $24,940 and $22,660, respectively. However, those in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Alaska earned the highest annual mean salaries of $34,390, $32,620 and $32,550, respectively. The lowest-paid bakers earned average wages between $17,810 and $22,660.

Training

Training programs in baking and pastry arts teach you the fundamentals of baking, including baking principles, food safety practices and industrial production techniques.

General education requirements may include English, math, public speaking and marketing. You also might take specialized courses like the following:

  • Baking fundamentals
  • Food safety
  • Kitchen sanitation
  • Nutrition
  • Specialty breads
  • Pastries
  • Cake decorating
  • Cake design
  • Decorative artistry using chocolate and confections

You'll likely practice using different icings and securing the layers of a tiered cake. You'll also develop your piping techniques, such as the uses of different icing tips and methods for producing desired shapes and patterns. Additionally, you may use materials such as chocolate or gum paste to create flowers or other decorative pieces.

Certification

Once you've met training and experience requirements, you can pursue voluntary certification through the Retail Bakers of America. Candidates for the Certified Decorator designation also must demonstrate their skills in a proficiency test.

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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