In dessert and pastry making diploma programs, students learn to bake cakes, cookies and tarts and to craft artistic sugar and chocolate showpieces. A high school diploma or GED is required for admission, and an externship at a local bakery or restaurant is usually required for graduation. After completing the program, candidates might consider pursuing certification in baking and pastry arts from industry organizations.
Diploma Program in Dessert and Pastry Making
Diploma programs in dessert and pastry making are available at community colleges and culinary schools and usually take less than a year to complete. Students learn through classroom lectures as well as hands-on baking and dessert-making in school kitchens and at local bakeries or restaurants. Courses may include:
- Baking science
- Cake decorating
- Breads and rolls
- Food safety
Job Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 9% increase in employment opportunities for chefs and cooks between 2014 and 2024, which is as fast as average (www.bls.gov). The BLS also states that turnover among these positions is high, so a fair number of positions are expected to be available. In August 2016, Salary.com reported that executive pastry chefs earn a median annual salary of $61,740 and assistant pastry chefs bring in median salaries of $40,396 per year. The BLS doesn't keep salary statistics specifically on pastry chefs but reported in May 2015 that the median annual salary for head cooks and chefs is $41,500.
Professional Credentials and Continuing Education
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers four credentials for baking and pastry professionals (www.acfchefs.org). Each certification has different experience and education requirements, but all applicants must pass a written and practical exam. Employment in a supervisory role is required for two of the certifications. Candidates for the Certified Master Pastry Chef credential must complete an 8-day testing exercise judged by other pastry chefs.
The ACF also offers continuing education courses online that help pastry chefs meet certification requirements. Courses in nutrition and food safety are available, and pastry chefs might be interested in the course on gluten-free foods. Students can also pursue their studies in an associate's degree program in baking and pastry arts.
Diploma programs in dessert and pastry making generally last one year or less and train aspiring pastry chefs to bake cakes and breads and make candy. Additional certifications and continuing education are available to graduates looking to enrich their pastry and baking knowledge.