Aspiring bakers and pastry chefs in North Carolina don't have an abundance of options for gaining a degree. The state is home to more than 120 public and private not-for-profit schools, seven of which have programs in baking and pastry. Students may choose to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in the field, both of which usually include some general education classes. Students spend much time in kitchen laboratories, learning and refining hands-on skills. Admission requirements may include an interview, vaccination records, and/or experience, among other factors. A final project may be required.
Below is a brief overview of each school's programs, as well as a table of the schools' offerings and tuition information.
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Asheville-based Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College offers an associate's degree program in baking and pastry arts that's designed to give students the skills and knowledge they need to get a job in baking and/or pastry making. The curriculum combines classes in theory with hands-on, practical experience working with specialty breads, pastries, desserts and decorative items. Before being admitted to the program, students must complete an initial dose of the Hepatitis A vaccine. The second dose must be taken 6-12 months after the first.
Central Piedmont Community College
In addition to several certificate programs, Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte also offers an associate's degree program in baking and pastry arts. Students can expect to use state-of-the-art equipment while learning how to create breads and desserts. This 75-credit program includes classes such as cake design and decorating, hot and cold desserts, confection artistry, plated desserts, and pastry and baking marketing. The baking and pastry arts program is competitive and requires prospective students to interview with the program chair. Other admission factors include test scores, past academic performance and prior experience in the field.
Fayetteville Technical Community College
Although Fayetteville Technical Community College in Fayetteville doesn't offer a degree in baking and pastry arts, it does have an associate's degree program in culinary arts. The culinary arts program includes several baking courses, in addition to classes in menu design, nutrition and culinary skills. The 65-credit degree program includes a 3-credit cooperative education requirement that needs to be approved by the department chair.
Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte
Charlotte-based Johnson & Wales University is a private, not-for-profit school. It's the only school on this list that offers a bachelor's degree program. Students can earn a bachelor's degree in baking and pastry arts and food service management. The school also offers an associate's degree program in baking and pastry arts. The curriculum for both programs is designed to give students a solid foundation in baking and pastry skills, while also allowing them to develop critical thinking skills, customer awareness and ethics. In addition to classes in fundamental skills and techniques, principles of artisan bread baking, sugar artistry, chocolates and confections, classic pastry and introduction to cakes, students can also expect to complete an internship.
Sandhills Community College
The student-to-faculty ratio in this Pinehurst-based college's baking and pastry arts degree program is 10 to 1, allowing instructors to provide individualized attention to students. The program is designed to teach students about the latest techniques and trends in the industry. In addition to gaining cooperative work experience, students typically take classes in petit fours and pastries, cake decorating, food safety and sanitation, pastry and baking marketing, specialty breads and nutrition. Graduates may be eligible for certification with the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
Wake Technical Community College
Students in the baking and pastry arts degree program at Wake Technical Community College, located in Raleigh, can expect to gain a strong background in pastry theory along with hands-on experience. The curriculum includes training in preparing petit fours and pastries, making specialty breads, chocolate artistry and more. Students also have a chance to compete in baking and pastry competitions.
Wilkes Community College
The baking and pastry arts degree program at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro prepares students for entry-level jobs as bakery or pastry assistants or assistant pastry chefs. Students can expect a combination of lecture-style classes and hands-on laboratory classes that offer practical knowledge and skills. Typical courses include culinary skills, pastry and confections, food sanitation and safety, plated desserts and bread production. Graduates are eligible for ACF certification.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Baking and Pastry Arts Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College||2-year, public; small city||Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts|| $2,419 (in-state)*
|Central Piedmont Community College||2-year, public; large city||Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts|| $2,664 (in-state)*
|Fayetteville Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsize city||Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts|| $2,394 (in-state)*
|Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Associate in Science in Baking and Pastry Arts,
Bachelor of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Service Management
|Sandhills Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts|| $2,401 (in-state)*
|Wake Technical Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts|| $2,768 (in-state)*
|Wilkes Community College||2-year, public; distant town||Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts|| $2,508 (in-state)*
Source: *NCES College Navigator