School and Ranking Information
While there are only about six schools within 25 miles of San Diego that offer pastry chef programs, the top three schools in the area, based on degree programs, tuition, and ranking info, are Grossmont College, San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE), and Southwestern College.
- Winner: Grossmont College in nearby El Cajon offers multiple programs for the aspiring pastry chef, and it features higher graduation rates than either SDCE or Southwestern College.
- Runner Up #1: San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) offers tuition-free classes for a variety of continuing education programs.
- Runner Up #2: Southwestern College offers low tuition rates for in-state students.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Grossmont College||San Diego Continuing Education||Southwestern College|
|Location||El Cajon (14.8 miles from San Diego)||San Diego||Chula Vista (13.8 miles from San Diego)|
|School Type||2-year, public||<2-year, public||2-year, public|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$1,387 (in-state), $6,897 (out-of-state)*||Tuition-free*||$1,334 (in-state), $6,654 (out-of-state)*|
|Pastry Chef Programs Offered||Certificate; associate degree||Certificate||Certificate; associate degree|
|Culinary Arts Degrees or Certificates Awarded (All Levels) in 2011-2012||64*||256*||9*|
|Most Popular Culinary Arts Program (2011-2012)||Certificate in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General (31 awarded)*||Certificate in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General (242 awarded)*||Certificate in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, General (6 awarded)*|
|Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2009 Entering Class||23%*||N/A*||15%*|
|Noteworthy||Career and job placement assistance available||Support services include community resource referrals and career development||Personal counseling and career guidance counseling available|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator.
Winner: Grossmont College
- Classes include field trips and hands-on instruction
- Dinner and concert program series is served by culinary and pastry students
Grossmont College offers an Associate of Science in Baking and Pastry, as well as a pastry cook certificate. Students learn skills through classroom teachings, which are supplemented through hands-on instruction, guest speakers, and field trips. Courses within the certificate program include baking and pastry arts principles, commercial baking and food service sanitation. A student must petition to receive the pastry cook certificate. The student must be enrolled and successfully complete a course during the same semester the petition is made in order for the certificate to be granted.
Runner-Up #1: San Diego Continuing Education
- Noncredit programs are available at no cost to San Diego students
- Program can be completed in 36 weeks
San Diego Continuing Education offers a professional bakeshop course. The course teaches students professional baking and pastry skills with 200 hours of instruction over the course of 36 weeks. Classes are offered during different times and days for scheduling flexibility. Evening classes are also offered. Students learn about cakes, cookies, pastries, and breads through theory techniques and hands-on practice.
Runner-Up #2: Southwestern College
- Hands-on experience using kitchen equipment
- Advanced programs include work experience in business
A student wishing to become a pastry chef may study to obtain a certificate in professional baking and pastry, or they may wish to pursue a certificate in culinary arts or cooking and baking (advanced). For students wishing to further their education, Southwestern College also offers an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts, Cooking and Baking. The introductory baking course requires a minimum of 144 hours, while the more advanced course requires at least 180 hours of instruction. Courses in the associate degree and advanced certificate programs include professional cooking, baking skills, pastry production and food purchase. The 18-credit professional baking and pastry certificate program includes coursework in baking skills, decorating and breads.