Become a Baking and Pastry Instructor: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Jul 29, 2018

Learn how to become a baking and pastry instructor. Research the job description and certification requirements, and find out how to start a career in baking and pastry instruction.

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  • 0:00 Baking and Pastry…
  • 0:49 Earn a Culinary Degree
  • 2:09 Gain Work Experience
  • 2:36 Earn Graduate Degree
  • 3:12 Obtain Certification

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Baking and Pastry Instructor Career Info

Degree Level Associate or bachelor's degree; master's needed for some positions
Degree Fields Baking and pastry arts or culinary arts
Certification Some employers require certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF); SafeServ certification is often required as well
Experience Varies with education and employer; may range from 3-5 years of culinary experience, along with previous teaching experience
Key Skills Strong verbal and written communication, instructional, and problem-solving skills; manual dexterity and near vision; basic computer skills such as word processing and report writing
Salary (2014) $49,470 (median for all postsecondary vocational education teachers)

Sources: Job postings by employers (December 2012), O*NET OnLine, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Baking and pastry instructors typically work in public, vocational or postsecondary schools, providing students with hands-on lessons and coursework in baking and pastry arts. Work may be seasonal, with breaks during summers or at other times of the school year. Funding for these types of positions often depends on the economy.

Baking and pastry instructors should have instructional abilities, strong written and verbal communication skills, manual dexterity and basic computer skills. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that postsecondary vocational education teachers earned a median annual salary of $49,470.

Earn a Culinary Degree

Individuals who want to become baking and pastry instructors may start with an associate's or bachelor's degree program in a culinary arts field. These programs provide students with courses in baking fundamentals, desserts, nutrition and food safety. After learning the basics, students typically progress to more advanced baking and pastry techniques. Courses in menu development, meal presentation and business can help individuals develop professional culinary skills. Baking and pastry instructors are required to communicate verbally and in written form with their students. Courses in public speaking can help to build confidence and clarity.

The ServSafe food safety training program, part of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), provides instruction to students, managers and teachers on food handling techniques that meet legal regulations on personal hygiene, sanitation and contamination. Some states have their own food safety programs, rather than adopting the NRA's. Online courses are available, but many culinary degree programs include the ServSafe examination in its program requirements.

Internships are another staple of culinary arts degree programs. These field experiences can come in the form of an off-campus position or through work in a student-run food establishment.

Gain Work Experience

Employers often require baking and pastry instructors to have experience. Employers typically seek a combination of education, culinary and teaching experience. Individuals can find work at a variety of food establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, bakeries and resorts. Professional experience is often required to obtain a position as an instructor, and it also can help pastry chefs obtain professional certification.

Earn a Graduate Degree

In addition to requiring an undergraduate degree, many postsecondary teaching applications suggest that candidates hold a master's degree or obtain a certain number of graduate credits in the field of culinary arts. Master of Arts programs are commonly available in food studies. These programs cover more advanced, theoretical culinary topics, such as food labor practices, nutrition, sustainable food production and restaurant business. Showing prospective employers a sampling of professional work and evidence of certification can also help a candidate in their job search.

Obtain Certification

The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is a professional culinary organization that provides certification for individuals in a variety of culinary fields. The ACF's Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC) and Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC) credentials may help an individual's chances of obtaining employment as a baking and pastry instructor. Chefs with two years of pastry experience can apply for the CPC designation first by submitting proof of their educational background and passing a 2-part exam. Those who hold an associate's degree don't need prior work experience.

After passing the exam and obtaining certification, individuals may apply for the higher CEPC credential. The application and testing process is similar to the CPC, except applicants must have at least three years of culinary chef experience and have supervised at least three culinary preparation workers.

To recap, institutions looking to hire baking and pastry instructors typically search for those candidates who have some type of degree and formal training in culinary arts as well as professional experience working in a kitchen or bakery.

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