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Information on Baking Schools

Considering Professional Baking?

Baking Pastry Arts

Did you know that a passion for baking can go further than just making breads and desserts at home? There is a very special niche in the workplace worth exploring for those hooked on the smell of freshly baked breads and cookies.

Professional bakers are incredibly proficient in the kitchen, making a variety of pastry and bread items. Elaborate cakes, loaves of artisanal bread, and creative cookies and treats are all created by the hands of talented bakers. Whether they make small batches of specialty products or are instrumental in producing a large quantity of baked goods, bakers must make each product perfect every time.

Have What It Takes?

At the most basic level, professional bakers must know how to follow directions, have an eye for detail, and communicate well with others. An experienced baker will understand the ins and outs of different ingredients and recipes and know how to efficiently operate the equipment commonly used in bakeries.

In addition, professional bakers may need to manage a staff, order ingredients, meet food safety regulations, and balance account books. Understanding nutrition is important in developing new recipes; having good business know-how is integral for successfully operating a small bakery.

Sound like a lot? Baking school can be a great resource for learning baking and pastry skills.

Baking School Offers Important Skills and Training

If you're thinking about a career in baking and pastry arts, school can help turn those perfect pie crusts and delicious desserts into a business. There are a variety of baking schools and degrees to help aspiring students become a professional baker.

Schools specializing in baking and pastry arts often offer diplomas, certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor's degrees. These can include culinary schools with a focus in baking and pastry and vocational schools with specific baking training. In order to help students gain work experience, many programs include externships as part of their education.

Baking school can be completed in a number of weeks or a number of months, depending on the program. While diploma and certificate programs can be completed fairly quickly, their scope is limited to skills mostly used within the kitchen, such as mixing methods, decoration and display, and special pastry techniques. These programs range from four months to a year, some longer, some shorter. Students of more extensive baking degree programs acquire additional management and business skills important for later leadership and management positions. These programs can last between two to four years and give students a more well-rounded skill set.

Baking School: Is It Worth the Dough?

Many of the skills learned in baking school can be picked up in the kitchen during summer externships or on-the-job training. Some critics wonder if enrolling in an expensive baking school program is worth it, especially since salaries in the industry--particularly for new bakers--can be low.

Choosing to attend baking school doesn't have to leave anyone penniless, however. Culinary programs are offered at a number of price points--so students should find one that fits a strict budget.

If the decision is not that easy to make, researching additional options can help. A culinary school directory breaks down the schools by state and available programs (the most common is baking and pastry arts). Start by choosing a few different schools and explore what the costs will be. There are also some financial aid and scholarship options that can make programs more affordable.

Baker Salary Expectations: How to Command More

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average baker’s salary is about $25,350 annually. Many bakers start in entry-level positions and can work up to positions of higher responsibility. Salaries vary by a number of factors, including the following:

  • The workplace. Restaurant or supermarket bakeries may provide more regular hours and dependable income, but head bakers in large hotels or entrepreneurs may have higher salary potential.
  • Additional specialized skills. Want to specialize in French pastry? Can you decorate cakes in a unique way? Finding a niche can be useful: the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that highly skilled bakers are more sought-after by employers thanks to the rising popularity of specialty foods.
  • Education level. Obtaining certification or a degree from a baking school can assure employers of having sufficient skills--something that will be quite appealing in this fast-paced job field.

Whether you gain your baking skills through a baking school or apprenticeship, becoming a top baker requires learning from others, practicing your skills, and following your heart--or your stomach.

Additional Resources for Careers in Baking
Bureau of Labor Statistics information on baking careers
Occupational Information Network (O*NET) information on baking career skills

Featured Baking Schools

Check out this directory of Baking 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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Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
5 Program(s) Found
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
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • 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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  • Online Courses
  • Financial Aid
1 Program(s) Found
  • 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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  • Online Courses
5 Program(s) Found
  • 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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Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
4 Program(s) Found
  • 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
  • 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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Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
  • Financial Aid
  • Transferable Credits
4 Program(s) Found
  • 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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  • Financial Aid
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.
  • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
  • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
  • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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4 Program(s) Found
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
  • Offers career-focused programs in allied health, business, and computer technology, and more.
  • On-the-job training available through externships, internships, and clinical placements.
  • Graduates in good standing can take refresher sessions in courses at no additional cost.
  • Day and evening class options are available for flexible scheduling.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
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Good for Working Adults
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid
2 Program(s) Found
The Chef's Academy , Indianapolis
  • Listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
  • Offers intern and externship placement assistance for real-world experience.
  • Offers programs in culinary arts, pastry arts, and hospitality & restaurant management.
  • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF).
  • 2 campus locations in Indianapolis, Indiana and Morrisville, North Carolina.
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1 Program(s) Found
  • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 11:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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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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2 Program(s) Found
  • 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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Good for Working Adults
  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Financial Aid