Although there are more than 190 colleges and universities in Virginia, none of the public or private non-profit schools in the state offer a degree specifically in baking and pastry arts. However, five public schools offer culinary arts degree programs with baking and pastry courses included in the curricula. Culinary arts programs usually require students to buy a uniform and other equipment in preparation for classes. Students may also need to stand for long periods, work closely with others and multi-task.
Outlines of each school are presented below, along with a table comparing program offerings and tuition information.
Central Virginia Community College
Lynchburg-based Central Virginia Community College offers an associate's degree program in culinary arts and management. Although the program provides a broad culinary education, students take courses that could further a career in baking, including a class covering baking principles. Admission to the culinary arts program is competitive. Eligibility is determined based on several factors, including personal interviews, past grades and scores on the college's placement tests.
Dabney S. Lancaster Community College
The culinary arts program at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, in Clifton Forge, is designed to prepare students for jobs in the culinary industry, including pastry chef. Many of the hands-on culinary courses are held at the school's Rockbridge Regional Center, in Buena Vista, where the school has a teaching kitchen. This 69-credit associate's degree program includes general education classes, such as composition, business math, computers and an introduction to business. Students can also expect to complete an internship and take core courses, such as safety and sanitation, business legalities, nutrition applications and baking principles. The program is offered jointly with Blue Ridge Community College.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
J.Sargeant Reynolds Community College, one of the newest community colleges in the state, has campuses in Richmond and Goochland. The college offers an associate's degree program in culinary arts with the option to complete the program on a fast-track, 15-month schedule, which requires a heavier workload than the traditional degree program. The American Culinary Federation Foundation, Inc. Accrediting Commission accredits the culinary arts curriculum.
Aspiring bakers or pastry chefs practice preparing desserts, candies, breads and other confections in the program's 'Principles of Baking' course, which combines two hours of lecture-based classes and three hours of laboratory coursework each week. Students also complete an internship and take courses in managing recipes and menus, beverage and food service management and culinary arts principles. Graduates are eligible for certification from the American Culinary Federation as a Certified Culinarian.
Tidewater Community College
Tidewater Community College's main campus is in Norfolk, but the school also has locations in Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Chesapeake. In addition to career studies certificates in classical cooking, kitchen management and catering, the school has an associate's degree program in culinary arts. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation accredits the program, which is designed to give students a broad range of culinary knowledge and skills. The 67-credit program includes courses such as food safety and sanitation, culinary arts principles, food service nutrition, international foods and baking principles. Students also take several electives, such as an advanced pastry and baking class.
Virginia Western Community College
Graduates of the culinary arts program at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke are eligible to take the American Culinary Federation's tests for certification as a Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC) and/or a Certified Culinarian (CC). The curriculum for the 65-credit associate's degree program covers the skills and knowledge needed for an entry-level culinary job, such as pastry cook or baker.
The program combines general education courses, such as small business management, fine arts and math, with culinary courses covering preparation of fruits, soups, meats, vegetables and sauces, baking principles and food purchasing. An internship is also required. Students must purchase uniforms and a cutlery set from the campus bookstore.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Baking and Pastry Degrees Offered||Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)|
|Central Virginia Community College||2-year; public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts and Management|| $4,838 in-state,*
|Dabney S. Lancaster Community College||2-year; public; fringe rural||Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts and Management|| $4,725 in-state,*
|J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College||2-year; public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts|| $4,998 in-state,*
|Tidewater Community College||2-year; public; midsized city||Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts|| $5,561 in-state,*
|Virginia Western Community College||2-year; public; small city||Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts|| $5,355 in-state,*
Source: *NCES College Navigator.