Becoming a Pastry Artist: Education & Course Descriptions

What does it take to make a career out of baking delectable delicacies? Read on to learn about the education requirements, course descriptions and salaries for pastry artists. Schools offering Baking & Pastry degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Pastry artists blend ingredients and bake them to create sweet confections for bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores. You don't need a degree to become a pastry chef, but many choose to train at culinary schools or technical colleges. The table below offers a quick overview of the pastry artist profession.

Suggested Education Culinary school, technical school
Training Required On-the-job training
Key Skills Physical stamina, communication, mathematics
Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% (for all bakers)*
Median Salary (2017) $25,690 per year (for all bakers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do Pastry Artists Do?

Some artists work in stone, and some artists work with paint. Pastry artists work with sugar, flour, yeast and other ingredients to create culinary masterpieces. They precisely measure and blend these ingredients and then use the perfect amount of heat for the ideal amount of time to produce a sweet or savory edible treat that tickles the taste buds. These could be anything from fruit-filled pies or chocolatey eclairs to glazed cinnamon rolls or cheesy empanadas.

How Do You Become One?

You don't need a formal degree to get a job as a pastry artist, though you will need to demonstrate to an employer that you know how to do the work. Some pastry chefs choose to complete a pastry arts program at a technical or culinary school, which can take anywhere from one to two years to complete. In those programs, you'd learn about nutrition, basic math for measuring, baking and decorating techniques, and food safety procedures. These programs typically require at least a high school diploma for admission.

Aspiring bakers usually hone their techniques by doing on-the-job training, perhaps working as an apprentice for one to three years. During this time, you may learn how to bake, add icing and do decorating flourishes.

Where Can You Work as a Pastry Artist?

There are a few main fields for pastry artists. Some do their work in restaurants, making desserts and other delicacies for diners. Others work in the commercial baking industry in manufacturing facilities. These 'commercial bakers' sometimes use industrial-sized mixing machines and ovens to produce treats that are distributed around the country to bakeries and grocery stores.

Retail bakers typically work in smaller bakeries, catering companies and grocery stores, preparing pastries in small quantities that are meant to be consumed quickly. A typical day for a retail baker might involve gathering ingredients, baking, taking orders from customers and keeping the kitchen clean and sanitized.

What's the Salary for Pastry Artists?

The salary and working hours will vary by industry. Pastry chefs working in retail generally work during the normal business hours for the establishment, while commercial bakers could work early mornings, late evenings and even overnight. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated the median salary for all bakers (including commercial pastry chefs, retail pastry chefs and other types of bakers) in May 2017 to be $25,690 per year.

What's the Job Outlook for Pastry Chefs?

The BLS predicts greater demand for specialty baked items in the coming years as salaries and population rise, especially baked goods from restaurants, bakeries and grocery stores. Commercial baking jobs may not go up as much because of increased automation in the manufacturing business. Overall, the BLS projects a rise in employment for bakers of 8% between 2016 and 2026.

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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