Tampa Cake Decorating Programs
Programs devoted exclusively to cake decorating don't exist at public schools in the Tampa area. Individuals interested in this field can enroll in broader programs that may include cake decorating at schools within a 45-minute drive of downtown. This article looks at three schools and their programs. It also includes a table of information, including tuition rates, school size and graduation rates, that individuals can refer to as they compare options.
- Manatee Technical College (MTC), almost 37 miles from downtown Tampa, is the only school in the Tampa area that offers a baking and pastry arts program.
- Pinellas Technical College (PTC) has two campuses in the Tampa area that offer a commercial foods and culinary arts program. The Clearwater campus is 19 miles from downtown, and the St. Petersburg Campus is 26 miles from downtown.
- Erwin Technical College (ETC) is about four miles from the city center and offers a program in commercial food and culinary arts.
Comparison of Schools
Here's a brief look at some important facts about these schools. Prospective students can use this information to make a solid decision about their training.
|Manatee Technical College||Pinellas Technical College||Erwin Technical College|
|School Type||2-year; public||2-year; public||2-year; public|
|Total Enrollment (2014)||928*||2,721 across both the Clearwater and St. Petersburg campuses*||751*|
|Campus Setting||Large suburb||Large Suburb||Large City|
|Tuition & Fees 2016 (for Culinary Arts Programs)||$4,019**||$5,557***||$3,752****|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Financial Aid (2013-2014)'||70%*|| 81% at Clearwater,
73% at St. Petersburg*
|'Acceptance Rate (2016)||N/A - Open admissions*||N/A - Open admissions*||N/A - Open admissions*|
|'Retention Rate (2013-2014)||45% for full time students*|| 80% at Clearwater;
81% at St. Petersburg*
|'Graduation Rate (began 2011)||89%*|| 36% at Clearwater;
55% at St. Petersburg*
Source: *NCES College Navigator, **Manatee Technical College, *** Pinellas Technical College, **** Erwin Technical College
Manatee Technical College
MTC offers a baking and pastry arts program as part of its collection of career preparation programs. MTC also offers a culinary arts program that is accredited by the accrediting commission of the American Culinary Federation foundation and has a professional membership with the National Restaurant Association and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Baking and Pastry Arts Program
This is a 600-hour program that can be completed in one year and three months. The program covers basic and advanced baking techniques and skills. Students learn how to make a variety of baked and dessert goods including breads, pastries, cookies and chocolates. Cake decorating techniques are also covered. The program is offered as two 300-hour programs: the basic Pastry Cook/Baker program and the advanced Pastry Chef/Head Baker program. Classes start at 6 a.m. to simulate a baker's work hours. In addition to learning baking skills in a retail bakery setting, students also learn leadership and management skills.
Pinellas Technical College
PTC does not have a specific baking or cake decorating program at either of its campuses; however, the commercial foods and culinary arts program does include courses in beginning and advanced baking. The commercial foods and culinary arts program lasts 13.5 months and consists of four 300-hour courses in food preparation, restaurant cook, chef/head cook and food service management.
Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts Program
The majority of the program focuses on culinary skills other than baking and cake decorating. Within the restaurant cook segment, students are introduced to bakery and baking techniques. In the food service management segment, students learn advanced baking techniques in the classroom and the kitchen as part of the cooking courses.
Erwin Technical College
ETC's commercial foods and culinary arts program is a 14-month, 1200-hour program that covers virtually every aspect of commercial cooking and prepares students to supervise a commercial food operation. Besides cooking courses, students learn computer literacy, restaurant management, menu planning, entrepreneurship, housekeeping and technical math.
Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts Program
The courses in this program cover a wide array of commercial cooking skills and techniques. There are only two courses remotely related to baking and cake decorating: the desserts program in the cook-restaurant portion of the course, and the baking specialties course in the chef/head cook program. The rest of the courses cover other culinary skills and techniques.
Other Class Options
As an alternative to attending a technical college's culinary arts program, individuals interested in cake decorating may find relevant courses offered by retail outlets, such as the 4-week Wilton cake decorating classes offered by Michael's craft store. Jo-Ann fabric and craft store is another retail location that offers Wilton cake decorating classes. Those interested should check with their local stores to find out when the cake decorating classes are offered.