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Home | Culinary Schools & Culinary Colleges | Baking And Pastry Arts

Information on Baking and Pastry Arts Schools

A glance inside a pastry shop might reveal flaky croissants, beautiful cakes decorated with swirling designs, elegant éclairs, and some deceptively simple artisanal loaves of bread. Behind each of these delicious creations lies the skill and care of a cook trained in baking and pastry arts.

Culinary Arts

Many love to bake and are good at it. Becoming a professional baker, however, takes physical stamina, the ability to work in a hot, fast-paced environment under pressure, and strong communication skills. A degree in baking and pastry arts can build on this foundation.

Inside Baking and Pastry Schools: the Curriculum

Baking and pastry schools offer a range of skills and classes, with course topics varying by the selected program. At the core of their programs, most baking and pastry arts schools typically include baking courses in:

  • Quick breads and yeast breads
  • Cakes, cookies, pies, and tarts
  • Dessert sauces and custards
  • Sugarwork, chocolate, and marzipan

In these baking and pastry courses, students become familiar with important ingredients and mixing techniques. In addition, classes cover equipment usage, baker's math, menu planning, production techniques, and food safety and sanitation. Some programs also include business essentials for running a bake shop.

Many programs also recognize the need for professional experience, often requiring an externship. By working in a kitchen, students acquire hands-on skills important for transitioning into a professional baking career.

Know About Types of Baking and Pastry Colleges

Culinary students have a wide variety of baking and pastry colleges to choose from. Some of the most common institutions offering a culinary education with an emphasis in baking and pastry arts are listed here, along with some basic characteristics:

  • Culinary Schools: Don’t be fooled by the title – culinary schools, while offering professional training in the kitchen, also provide courses in business skills and scientific processes. Students interested in baking and pastries in particular enroll in baking and pastry arts concentrations.
  • Vocational schools with baking and pastry programs: These schools provide students with a wide variety of culinary skills while simultaneously teaching business and science fundamentals. Many students find vocational schools to be a practical choice when developing their baking and pastry career.
  • Colleges that have culinary majors, degrees and certificates: Appropriate for students at all stages of a culinary career, these schools offer a diverse range of degrees. Students interested in baking and pastry arts in particular can find programs with a baking and pastry emphasis.

With such a variety of schools, which one should students choose? Prospective students should research the schools according to the location and degree offering appropriate for them.

Which Baking Degree Should You Get?

While experience is important in the restaurant business, a degree from a top baking and pastry school demonstrates the depth of culinary knowledge to employers. Depending on the program and the depth of focus, prospective students may consider a:

  • Diploma or certificate: These programs range from four months to a year and provide training for entry-level positions in bakeries and restaurants. Students working towards a pastry diploma or baking certificate learn fundamental baking and culinary arts techniques.
  • Associate degree: Students in these baking and pastry programs learn the fundamentals, but also augment their baking education with courses that introduce human resources management and finance skills. Associate degrees in baking and pastry arts typically take two years to complete.
  • Bachelor's degree: These four-year degrees generally focus on more extensive management training. Students in these programs need to know culinary processes and techniques, of course, but dive into additional event management, food marketing, and business courses - important for baking management, leadership positions, and maintaining a successful business.

Prospective students should start researching degree programs by thinking about where they are, and where they want to be, in their baking and pastry arts career.

Baking Scholarships and School Cost

The price of baking and pastry colleges varies enormously, depending on the type of school, program, and degree. Students considering professional training should note that baking and pastry schools often require purchasing books, uniforms, and supplies on top of paying for regular tuition.

However, pastry and baking schools offer degrees at a diverse range of price points.  Private and federal loans, grants, and baking and pastry scholarships may be used to make a school’s degree program within financial reach. Navigating the grants and loans for any degree program can be confusing; looking over a culinary arts financial aid guide, which includes scholarships for baking and pastry arts students, can help.

Is Pastry School Necessary?

Pastry chefs and bakers work in many settings. Restaurants, hotel or resort kitchens, supermarket bakeries, specialty bakeries, catering businesses, and even research kitchens for food manufacturers are all places that employ workers trained in baking and pastry arts. Many hardworking and talented bakers without a formal education have found good jobs with opportunities for advancement.

So, not everyone agrees that going to baking school is worth the time and money. After all, there is a lot to learn outside of a baking school classroom. Some professionals recommend simply going to the best restaurant you can find and starting at the bottom.

While there are no strict baking or pastry chef education requirements for landing a job, there are advantages of pursuing professional training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), specialized training can increase chances of finding a job in competitive upscale restaurants and hotels where the pay tends to be better. Highly trained bakers should also be in demand thanks to the rising popularity of special food products. Furthermore, graduates of top culinary schools who have sharp business skills and management finesse are often more appealing potential hires in an economy where employers value financial know-how.

How Much Do Bakers and Pastry Chefs Earn?

The salary of a pastry chef or baker can vary according to the location, size, and popularity of the restaurant and the level of responsibility of the position. Many start careers in baking and pastry arts in entry level positions, later working to positions of higher responsibility with added experience. In 2014, the BLS found that the average pastry chef salary, along with other chefs and head cooks, came to $45,880. That same year, the BLS calculated the average baker’s salary at $25,550 annually nationwide. They also found that, in general, the highest paying jobs in upscale restaurants and eateries were the most competitive, and that highly skilled bakers had strong demand from employers.

Experience counts the most for those building careers in baking and pastry arts. However, pastry and baking school can help furnish skills and give potential bakers a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Additional Resources for Baking and Pastry Arts Students on Chef2chef.net
Baking Schools and Programs
Pastry Chef Schools and Training

Additional Information on Baking and Pastry Arts Schools and Careers
Bureau of Labor Statistics on careers in baking
Bureau of Labor Statistics career information on chefs and head cooks
Occupational Information Network (O*NET) on career skills important to bakers

Featured Baking And Pastry Arts Schools

Check out this directory of Baking And Pastry Arts schools and institutes to get started!

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5 Program(s) Found
  • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
  • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
  • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
  • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
  • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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Le Cordon Bleu Schools of North America , Online (campus option available)
  • Its first location, in Paris, officially opened its doors as a culinary school in 1895.
  • Teaches students by having them spend significant time in the kitchen practicing precision techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training from instructors who are certified, master chefs.
  • Offer flexible schedules and online programs.
  • Has 30 schools worldwide, spanning 5 continents, including 17 campuses in the U.S.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Online Courses
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  • Provides students the opportunity to train at home in their spare time to get their high school diploma, train for a new career, or enhance current skills.
  • Member of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE), and the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE).
  • Features a fully flexible schedule with no classes to attend, leaving the study pace up to the student.
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  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
  • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
  • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
  • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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  • Offers more than 150 self-paced, career-relevant programs that are connected to a supportive 24/7 online community of students and faculty.
  • Profiled in many publications such as The Boston Globe, Fox Business, and  Inside Higher Ed.
  • Nearly 25,000 graduates each year.
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  • Founded in 1890 in Scranton, Pennsylvania    
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  • Received the 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
  • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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  • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
  • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
  • Helps students gain professional skills in culinary management.
  • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
  • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
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  • Dedicated to providing a hands-on, personal approach to education since 1946.
  • Provides associate degrees and short-term certificate programs in business, design, healthcare, and more.
  • Offers alumni free “brush up” classes, allowing graduates to exercise certain skills or software that they may not have used in a while.
  • Gives students many options for campus activities, including intramural sports, drama club, and campus parties.
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  • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
  • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
  • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
  • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
  • Has student housing available.
  • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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1 Program(s) Found
  • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
  • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
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  • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
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  • Designated as a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media.
  • A private post-secondary institution of higher education serving south-central Pennsylvania and northern Maryland since 1967.
  • Offers associate degrees in specialized business and specialized technology, as well as programs leading to professional certifications and diplomas.
  • Gives each student their own career services specialist who helps keep them focused on their goals.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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  • Accredited
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
2 Program(s) Found
  • Each campus features a public restaurant where culinary students work under the direction of professional chefs for real-world experience.
  • Hosts Platt College’s Food Fight, a friendly dessert competition for students held once a month.
  • Offers programs in culinary arts, nursing, and healthcare.
  • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (AFC) and Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
  • 5 campuses in Lawton, North and Central Oklahoma City, Moore, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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  • Recognized on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll every year from 2010-2014
  • Day and evening classes are available for flexible scheduling.
  • Offers bachelor’s, associate, and diploma programs in business, culinary arts, criminal justice, cosmetology, and more.
  • Takes a unique “Focused Learning” approach, where students typically take only one class per month to concentrate on one subject with one faculty member at a time.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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Virginia College , Jacksonville
  • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
  • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
  • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
  • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
  • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
Salter College , West Boylston
  • A private two-year college of advanced standing for men and women founded in 1938.
  • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
  • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
  • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
  • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid

More Baking And Pastry Arts Schools in the U.S.

California | Texas | Virginia | Florida | Pennsylvania