Houston Schools with Cake Decorating Courses
Students in the Houston, Texas, area who want to become cake decorators or work in a pastry shop have three public school options available within a half-hour of the city. This article looks at two of those schools and the programs they offer. It also includes a table of information, such as school types, enrollment and costs, that prospective students can use to compare these schools.
- Houston Community College has a variety of marketable skills achievement awards, certificates and associate's degree programs in pastry arts that train students to prepare breads and pastries and decorate cakes. The college's culinary arts programs are available at its Central campus, located in downtown Houston.
- About 15 miles from downtown Houston, San Jacinto College also has a baking and pastry arts certificate and associate degree program, accredited by the American Culinary Federation. Students gain practical skills that can prepare them for the real work of cake decorating, baking and pastry sales.
Comparison of Schools
The following table makes it easy to see how these schools measure up in various categories.
|Houston Community College||San Jacinto College|
|School Type||2-year college, public||2-year college, public|
|Total Enrollment (2017)||57,120||30,509*|
|Campus Setting||Large city||Large Suburb|
|Tuition and Fees (2017-18)||$1,632 in-district, $3,360 in-state, $3,756 out-of-state*||$1,500 in-district, $2,580 in-state, $4,140 out-of-state*|
|% of First-Year Students Receiving Some Form of Aid (2016-17)||62%||50%|
|Retention Rate (2016-2017)||65% for full-time students||72% for full-time students|
|Undergraduate Graduation Rate (began 2014)||18% (22% transfer-out rate)*||28% (13% transfer-out rate)*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator
Houston Community College
The Central campus at Houston Community College offers baking and pastry arts programs that include classes in cake decorating. Students complete labs to gain real experience preparing a variety of bread, pastries and desserts.
Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry
The associate's degree program in baking and pastry arts takes five semesters, or two years, to complete. Students start by learning the basics of baking, then progress to breads, pies, cookies, chocolates and cakes, as well as kitchen sanitation and safety. In Cake Decorating I, learners explore the basics of decorating cakes and in Cake Decorating II, they study advanced decorating techniques, including seasonal tips. A wedding cake course includes techniques commonly used for creating different cake layers and using garnishes, flowers, fondant and icing for wedding cakes.
Certificate in Baking and Pastry
This 3-semester, or 1-year, certificate trains students to prepare a variety of breads and desserts including rolls, donuts, tarts, chocolates and confections. An advanced pastry shop course familiarizes them with international desserts, different ice creams, chocolate work and tips for keeping the dishes hot or cold as necessary. As with the associate's degree program, students complete a practicum as a baker or pastry chef. They also take Cake Decorating I, Cake Decorating II and the wedding cake decoration course.
Pastry Cook Level I - Certificate
Students can complete this program option in two semesters. The required courses cover kitchen safety and sanitation, the basics of baking and preparing tarts, pies, cookies and teacakes, fundamentals of baking, and a course on breads and rolls. Enrollees are also required to complete Cake Decorating I.
San Jacinto College
San Jacinto College is a 2-year community college that offers a variety of certificates and associate's degree programs designed to prepare students for the workforce. The school offers certificate and degree programs in culinary arts. Continuing education and professional development courses are also available.
Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts - Pastry Chef Specialty
Offered at the North Campus, this associate's degree program takes about four semesters to complete and focuses on the baking and pastry arts. Students take restaurant courses, such as safety and sanitation, as well as food and beverage controls. Baking classes include baking fundamentals, nutrition, bakeshop production and advanced pastry shop. The two cake decorating courses prepare students to use chocolate modeling, royal icing, marzipan and other techniques to produce professional cakes that taste delicious and look beautiful.
Certificate of Technology in Culinary Arts - Pastry Chef Specialty
This 3-semester certificate provides students the opportunity to focus on baking and pastry creations. In addition to learning to operate and manage a safe kitchen, they learn to manage the volume of breads and pastries they create and acquire experience creating a variety of desserts. They also learn how to mold, fill and prepare chocolates and take two cake decoration courses.