Cake decorators are skilled bakers who have mastered advanced cake decorating techniques. They work in stores, restaurants, bakeries producing cakes for customers. A high school diploma is typically the only educational requirement to become a cake decorating apprentice along with being at least 17 years old.
Cake decorators work in bakeries, grocery stores or restaurants, using their skills and creativity to put the finishing touches on a cake before it is given to the customer. Aspiring cake decorators often complete apprenticeships through which they receive specialized instruction and hands-on training while completing classroom study. The prerequisite for most apprenticeship programs is a high school diploma.
|Required Education||High school diploma typically needed|
|Other Requirements||Optional certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||7% for all bakers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$24,170 per year for all bakers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Training Information for Cake Decorating Apprentices
Rather than attend college, some cake decorators begin their career by applying for an apprenticeship at a bakery, catering company or other food-related business. Applications are submitted through unions, professional organizations or directly to the company. Some companies require prior baking experience while others are willing to train inexperienced applicants. Applicants who are high school graduates are preferred.
American Culinary Federation
Aspiring cake decorators who are at least 17 years old and have a high school diploma can apply for an apprenticeship through the American Culinary Federation (ACF). ACF apprenticeships spread 6,000 of practical experience hours over two or three years, along with 192 hours of college courses. Cake decorators can use an ACF apprenticeship program to find permanent employment, become certified or earn an associate's degree.
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People with cake decorating skills often become bakers and work in a number of industries that create cakes and pastries. Almost a third of all bakers worked in bakeries and tortilla manufacturing as of 2012. Bakers may work only part time, and be scheduled in the mornings, evenings and on the weekends.
Salary and Employment Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the related field of bakers could expect 7% job growth between 2014 and 2024. This was much slower than the average for all professions. The median salary for bakers in May 2015 was $24,170.
Requirements for Cake Decorating Apprenticeships
Requirements for apprenticeships vary depending on the program. A pastry-shop owner may only want a demonstrated interest in and aptitude for baking, while a formal program will require a high school diploma and a commitment of several years. Applicants to ACF-sponsored apprenticeships must be members of the ACF and may have to meet other qualifications, such as prior experience or a background check, based on the participating employer. Applicants can find specific requirements for individual apprenticeships through their local chapter of the ACF.
Applicants to apprenticeships usually have a high school diploma, but it is not always required. Cake decorators in an ACF apprenticeship complete culinary classes in topics like cooking, food safety and management.
College Internships and Externships
Many aspiring cake decorators enroll in a culinary arts degree program that includes an internship or externship as part of student graduation requirements. Unlike apprenticeships, externships are usually short-term and unpaid. Schools often have relationships with certain bakers or restaurants that regularly employ their students, or will help students by providing placement assistance.
Aspiring cake bakers can apply to apprenticeships to learn their trade through classroom and practical exercises. These programs are often available along with a culinary arts degree program. Program requirements will vary but may include prior baking experience, a background check or professional organization membership.