There are seven public schools in Washington State that offer certificate programs in baking or pastry. Each school's entrance requirements and offerings vary. The majority of students' learning time is spent learning and refining hands-on skills directly related to the trade, often in kitchen laboratories. Some schools offer students the opportunity to work their trade in student-run bakeries on campus.
Below is a short overview of each school and a table comparing the tuition information and program offerings at each school.
Bellingham Technical College
Bellingham-based Bellingham Technical College offers a pastry certificate through its culinary arts academic division. The culinary arts program is a small program with three faculty members. It is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the American Culinary Federation Foundation. The pastry certificate is a 20-credit program that includes four courses that provide training in sanitation and safety, breads, cookies, puff pastry, restaurant desserts, cakes, pies, chocolates, and other candies.
Edmonds Community College
Students who want to earn a baking certificate from the culinary arts department at Edmonds Community College, in Lynnwood, can expect to gain the skills needed for an entry-level job in baking. This 44-credit program typically includes lecture courses such as business math, food sanitation, and baking theory, as well as laboratory courses in baking and supervised work experience. The curriculum of the certificate program, like other programs in the culinary arts department, combine classroom theory with hands-on experience designed to get students ready to work in a professional baking capacity.
Renton Community College
Entrance requirements for Renton Technical College's baking certificate program, located in Renton, include having a food handler's permit, being at least 18 years old and taking the college's entrance exam. The 65-credit program takes four quarters to complete. Students can expect to take courses covering bakery math, mixing, ovens, yeast doughs, cake baking, pastries, tarts, bakery operations, and human relations. Additionally, students have an opportunity to take a retail bakery course in which cakes and other baked goods finished in the course are sold to customers, allowing students to get immediate feedback about their work.
Seattle Central Community College
Students can earn a certificate in specialty desserts and breads from the Seattle Culinary Academy at Seattle Central Community College in Seattle. The certificate program is a full-time program that requires students to take classes four days a week for five quarters. To be eligible for admission, students must show that they have completed college-level math and English composition. The program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Institute Accrediting Commission. Students can expect to learn how to work with chocolate and brown sugar and how to create breads, cakes, pastries, and other desserts. The curriculum combines lectures in theory with hands-on experience. Near the end of the program, every student demonstrates their skills and knowledge by completing a 'Chef of the Day' project.
South Seattle Community College
The culinary arts department at South Seattle Community College in Seattle is recognized by the National Restaurant Association as having one of the best training programs in the United States. The department offers a 130-credit certificate program in baking and pastry arts that is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute Accrediting Commission. Students can expect to take courses such as health and sanitation, decoration theory, baking management, specialty cakes and pastries, chocolate, sugar work, and commercial food nutrition. Entrance to the program is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. This 18-month certificate program is typically completed in six quarters.
South Puget Sound Community College
After completing general education and core requirements, students can earn a Certificate of Completion in Baking and Pastry Arts from Olympia-based South Puget Sound Community College. Before entering the program, students must get a food handler's permit from Thurston County. The baking and pastry arts program combines lectures with lab classes, allowing students to gain a firm foundation in subjects such as yeast breads, pies and tarts, chocolate and confections, pastry techniques and bakery operations, while also gaining hands-on experience in the college's dining rooms and kitchens.
Spokane Community College
Spokane Community College, in Spokane, offers a one-year certificate program in professional baking. The program is small, with three faculty members. Students can expect to get a strong background in theory while also gaining practical skills in areas such as hygiene and sanitation, using baking machinery, product control, purchasing and cost factors. The program extends for three quarters, with students rotating through a different station each quarter, including pastry, cake decorating and artisan breads.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Baking & Pastry Certificates Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Bellingham Technical College||2-year; public; small city||Certificate in Pastry||$3,600 in-state; $4,547 out-of-state*|
|Edmonds Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Baking Certificate|| $4,136 (in-state);*
|Renton Technical College||2-year; public; small city||Certificate of Completion in Professional Baking||$5,466 in-state, $5,902 out-of-state,|
|Seattle Central College||4-year; public; large city||Certificate in Specialty Desserts and Bread||$3,669*|
|South Seattle Community College||4-year; public; large city||Certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts||$4,717*|
|South Puget Sound Community College||2-year; public; small city||Certificate of Completion in Baking and Pastry Arts|| $4,423 (in-state);*
|Spokane Community College||2-year; public; midsize city||Certificate in Professional Baking|| $3,547 (in-state);*
Source: NCES College Navigator