Although there aren't many colleges in California that offer a degree in pastry arts, plenty of 2-year colleges offer culinary arts associate degree programs with courses in pastry arts. Some of those schools also offer certificate programs or non-credit courses in pastry arts. Students learn basic and commercial baking skills as well as techniques to make cookies and doughs, decorate cakes, create sugar art and make chocolate. They may also learn about kitchen safety, food purchasing and menu planning. Below is a summary of nine schools' programs, along with a table comparing the schools' offerings and tuition information.
American River College
The culinary arts and hospitality department at American River College, in Sacramento, offers a certificate program in baking and pastry that includes classes in bread baking, pastry arts and European baking and pastry. The associate's degree program in culinary arts/restaurant management includes many of the same courses as well as training in hospitality law, food theory, dining room management and cost controls. A mandatory work experience is also part of the associate's degree curriculum. Students can work at the Oak Cafe, an on-campus, fine-dining restaurant that is open to the public.
Cerritos College, in Norwalk, is one of Los Angeles County's largest community colleges. The school offers an associate's degree program and a certificate program in professional baking and pastry. Courses typically include baking and pastry production, baking skills, food safety and food purchasing. The associate's degree program requires students to complete general education courses in addition to core courses. Both programs are offered through the college's culinary arts department. The department is home to Cafe Cerritos, a student-run, on-campus dining establishment that is open to the public.
City College of San Francisco
City College of San Francisco, located in San Francisco, is the largest school in California offering a culinary arts program. The associate's degree in culinary arts management includes an unpaid internship, general education courses and several laboratory classes in food service and preparation. The curriculum also includes classes in food purchasing, cost controls, hospitality, baking and pastry decorating. The program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). In addition to earning a degree, graduates can expect to earn a certificate of completion from the Accrediting Commission of the ACF. The school also has a not-for-credit program in baking and pastry.
Long Beach City College
The baking and pastry arts associate's degree program at Long Beach City College, located in Long Beach, includes classes in baking fundamentals, chocolate work and cake decorating. Elective options include sugar art and Viennese pastries. Students can also expect to complete 19 units of general education courses and fulfill a practical work experience. The college also offers a 40-unit certificate of achievement in baking and pastry arts. Students need to buy a chef's uniform, certain baking ingredients and several baking-related tools.
Orange Coast College
Orange Coast College, located on a 164-acre campus in Costa Mesa, offers a certificate in advanced baking and pastry (as well as basic baking and pastry). The program options offer a focused approach for aspiring pastry artists and bakers. Typical coursework includes nutrition, menu planning, pastry arts principles and baking principles. Orange Coast College also has certificate and associate's degree programs in culinary arts with courses in baking and pastry.
Pasadena City College
This community college, located in its namesake city of Pasadena, offers a 6-credit certificate program in baking and pastry. Students take two courses, in introductory and advanced baking and pastry studies, that can prepare them to seek entry-level employment. They can learn to make laminated doughs, cookies, fancy pastry items and multi-tier cakes as well as practice elegantly decorating their confections. A 40-credit culinary arts certificate program with an elective option in baking and pastry is also offered.
Aspiring bakers and pastry chefs can learn the skills needed to start their career with the culinary arts program at Saddleback College, in Mission Viejo. The program includes an associate's degree or a certificate option. The curricula include standard courses in food sanitation and baking fundamentals, with specialized classes in French cuisine, vegetarian cooking, healthy cooking techniques and Mediterranean cuisine. Students can also expect to complete a cooperative work experience and an internship.
San Diego Mesa College
San Diego Mesa College, in San Diego, offers a 48-unit associate's degree program and a 30-unit certificate of achievement in culinary arts/hospitality management. Both programs are designed to give students a firm background in culinary theory as well as the abilities to use culinary equipment and handle food safely. In addition to classes in hospitality and leadership, the degree program also has courses in food production, food sanitation and safety, food purchasing, basic pastry and baking, and advanced pastry and baking.
Santa Rosa Junior College
The culinary arts associate's degree program offered at Santa Rosa Junior College, located in Santa Rosa, prepares its students to work in all areas of the culinary industry, including baking and pastry arts. The curriculum is designed to teach students about using proper culinary terminology, creating menus, handling food safely, solving problems and developing sharp culinary and baking skills. Students need to complete 23-39 units in general education courses in addition to 44 units of culinary arts courses. Courses may include food sanitation, knife skills, baking and pastry, cake decorating, chocolates, confections and production baking. A 32.5-credit culinary arts certificate program with a baking and pastry class is also available.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Pastry Arts Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2018-2019)*|
|American River College||2-year; public; large suburb|| Certificate in Introductory Baking,
Certificate in Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management,
Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts/Restaurant Management
|$1,104 in-state; $8,712 out-of-state|
|Cerritos College||2-year; public; large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement in Professional Baking and Pastry,
Associate in Arts in Professional Baking and Pastry
|$1,346 in-state; $8,710 out-of-state|
|City College of San Francisco||2-year; public; large city||Associate in Science in Culinary Arts||$1,696 in-state; $10,372 out-of-state|
|Long Beach City College||2-year; public; large city|| Certificate of Achievement in Baking and Pastry Arts,
Associate in Science in Baking and Pastry Arts
|$1,174 in-state; $7,750 out-of-state|
|Orange Coast College||2-year; public; midsize city|| Certificate of Specialization in Basic Baking and Pastry,
Certificate of Achievement in Advanced Baking and Pastry,
Certificate of Achievement in Basic Culinary Arts,
Certificate of Achievement in Advanced Culinary Arts
|$1,186 in-state; $7,978 out-of-state|
|Pasadena City College||2-year; public; midsize city|| Occupational Skills Certificate in Baking and Pastry,
Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts
|$1,166 in-state; $7,548 out-of-state|
|Saddleback College||2-year; public; large suburb|| Certificate of Achievement in Basic Culinary Arts,
Certificate of Achievement in Advanced Culinary Arts,
Associate in Science in Culinary Arts
|$1,328 in-state; $9,392 out-of-state|
|San Diego Mesa College||2-year; public; large city|| Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management in Hospitality,
Associate in Science in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management in Hospitality
|$1,144 in-state; $7,024 out-of-state|
|Santa Rosa Junior College||2-year; public; midsize city|| Certificate of Achievement in Culinary Arts,
Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts
|$1,328 in-state; $8,174 out-of-state|
Source: *NCES College Navigator