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Baking School in California with Training Program Descriptions

There are roughly 59 schools in California that have baking programs. Read an overview of the nine largest schools' programs, requirements and tuition info and find out which one is right for you.

Essential Information

Formal education isn't required to become a baker, but it can provide students with the skills necessary to get started in the field. Students in California may choose to earn an undergraduate certificate in a number of culinary fields, or an associate's degree that includes coursework in baking and pastries. Associate's degrees include general education coursework, as well, although certificates are usually skill set-specific and often may be earned in less than a year. Hands-on experience in kitchen laboratories is included in all programs and some schools allow students to gain work experience through cooperative arrangements with campus or local restaurants.

In California, more than 55 schools offer certificates and degree programs in baking, and the following 10 schools represent the largest of the options.

American River College

Located in Sacramento, American River College has been striving to enrich students' lives with quality technical and career training since it opened in 1955. Through the Department of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management, students can pursue an Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management, a Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Certificate or an Introductory Baking Certificate. Through all three programs, they'll explore breads, yeast doughs and pastry, food theory and preparation, fine breads and pastries. The baking certificate includes an additional course in advanced baking and pastry. Culinary students also have the opportunity to prepare meals at the Oak Café.

Cerritos College

Norwalk's Cerritos College is one of the 5 largest community colleges in Los Angeles County and is committed to serving the community. Students interested in baking can select from an 18-credit Certificate of Achievement in Professional Baking and Pastry. Course topics include food service safety and sanitation, baking and pastry production and baking skills. Enrollees also complete work experiences and help operate the Cerritos College Café.

Long Beach City College

Established in 1927, Long Beach City College in Long Beach promotes student learning and achievement by enhancing learning experiences. Students can select from an Associate in Science in Baking and Pastry Arts or a Certificate of Achievement in Baking and Pastry Arts. Courses for both programs include introductory baking, baking and pastry, culinary arts nutrition and cake decorating. The associate's degree program also includes a course in chocolate. Students receive professional and practical experience through supervised work experiences in hotels and restaurants.

Orange Coast College

Costa Mesa's Orange Coast College strives to help students accomplish their professional and life goals by helping them pursue their passions and acquire the skills necessary for their chosen professions. Students can pursue a variety of baking programs, including a Certificate of Achievement in Baking and Pastry - Basic, a Certificate of Achievement in Advanced Baking and Pastry, or a Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts, which includes a basic baking course. The basic baking program provides learners with the skills needed to become a baker, with classes in safety and sanitation, directed practice and baking principles. The advanced baking program includes additional courses, such as menu planning, principles of pastry arts and food production management.

Pasadena City College

At Pasadena's Pasadena City College, students can pursue an Occupational Skills Certificate in Culinary Arts - Baking and Pastry or a Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts. Courses for the 40-credit culinary arts program include introductory culinary arts, special events management, food service in baking and pastry and advanced baking and pastry. The 6-credit baking and pastry program addresses food service baking and pastry and advanced baking and pastry. Students create baked goods, such as breads, cookies, cakes and fancy pastries.

Saddleback College

Saddleback College in Mission Viejo emphasizes excellence, innovation, global awareness and learning. The school offers both an Associate in Science in Culinary Arts and a Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts. Cooking classes include food preparation, baking fundamentals, classic French cuisine, culinary principles, Italian cuisine and an internship. Graduates can assist bakers and chefs as they prepare a wide variety of foods.

San Diego Mesa College

Located in San Diego, Mesa College is the largest school in the San Diego Community College District. Individuals interested in taking baking courses or completing a baking program can earn the school's Associate in Science in Culinary Arts and Management in Hospitality. They explore hospitality leadership, food preparation theories, baking and pastry arts, advanced baking and pastry arts and menu preparation.

Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa's Santa Rosa Junior College was founded in 1918, making it one of the oldest 2-year colleges in California. Students can pursue an Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts or a Culinary Arts Baking and Pastry Certificate. The program trains students to purchase and handle food, use and apply cooking terms and solve food-related problems. Courses for both the associate's degree and the 17.5 credit certificate program include sanitation and safety, preparing tarts and pies, using knives, baking bread, decorating cakes and production baking. The certificate is designed to introduce students to work in a bakery or as a pastry chef.

Southwestern College

Southwestern College in Chula Vista offers more than 320 associate's degree and certificate programs, including an Associate in Science in Culinary Arts: Cooking and Baking, a Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts: Cooking and Baking - Advanced and a Certificate of Achievement in Professional Baking and Pastry. Baking courses for these programs include introductory baking, the basics of baking and pastry production, decorating and designing pastries, baking and producing breads, sanitation and nutrition and food purchasing and control. Students learn to apply baking and pastry skills by working in a professional kitchen and through work experience. They also learn to estimate costs and use correct food handling techniques.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Baking Degree Programs and Certificates Offered Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)
American River College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management,
Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Certificate,
Introductory Baking Certificate
$1,104 in-state, $7,440 out-of-state*
Cerritos College 2-year, public; large suburb Certificate of Achievement in Professional Baking and Pastry $1,346 in-state, $7,926 out-of-state*
Long Beach City College 2-year, public; large city Associate in Science in Baking and Pastry Arts,
Certificate of Achievement in Baking and Pastry Arts
$1,182 in-state, $7,398 out-of-state*
Orange Coast College 2-year, public; midsize city Certificate of Achievement in Baking and Pastry - Basic,
Certificate of Achievement in Advanced Baking and Pastry,
Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts
$1,184 in-state, $6,584 out-of-state*
Pasadena City College 2-year, public; midsize city Occupational Skills Certificate in Culinary Arts - Baking and Pastry,
Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts
$1,152 in-state, $6,180 out-of-state*
Saddleback College 2-year, public; large suburb Associate in Science in Culinary Arts,
Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts
$1,326 in-state, $5,750 out-of-state*
San Diego Mesa College 2-year, public; large city Associate in Science in Culinary Arts and Management in Hospitality $1,142 in-state, $4,670 out-of-state*
Santa Rosa Junior College 2-year, public; midsize city Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts,
Culinary Arts Baking and Pastry Certificate
$1,318 in-state, $6,637 out-of-state*
Southwestern College 2-year, public, large suburb Associate in Science in Culinary Arts: Cooking and Baking,
Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts: Cooking and Baking-Advanced,
Certificate of Achievement in Professional Baking and Pastry
$1,336 in-state, $5,452 out-of-state*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

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