How to Become a Pastry Chef

Learn how to become a pastry chef. Find information on programs, training, skills, job growth and salary. View popular baking & pastry schools that prepare students for careers as pastry chefs.


Individuals interested in becoming a pastry chef may opt to enroll in a diploma, certificate, or associate degree program focusing on baking and pastry arts from an accredited culinary school. Students enrolled in a diploma program may complete the program in several months, and they may study pastry chef techniques, decorative media, and plated desserts. A certificate program, which students may complete in few months, may provide students with a solid foundation in pastry arts, and may include cooking terminology as well as techniques for preparing different types of pastries, stocks, sauces, and cookies. Students who enter an associate degree program may complete the program in two years and may learn how to apply baking and pastry skills to plated desserts, creations, and centerpieces. Pastry chef courses may include the following:

  • Sanitation and Safety
  • Baking Principles
  • Advanced Pastry Techniques
  • Cake Decorating
  • International Pastries
  • Pastry Theory


Students enrolled in a pastry chef program may benefit from externship opportunities. In these externships, students may work closely with baking professionals, gaining hands-on experience. They may also learn how to hone their baking skills and creativity while under a watchful eye. Sometimes these externships may turn into entry-level employment once students complete their educational program.

Required Skills

Individuals interested in becoming a pastry chef may need to possess several skills, including being organized and detail-oriented, especially since baking requires accurate measurements. They should also be hard working and have stamina, since they may need to work long hours while on their feet. Pastry chefs may also need to be creative and patient. Those who work as a pastry chef may have creative control over their desserts, and being creative may allow those inspirations to shine. Desserts may require extensive preparation, so pastry chefs should be patient when creating these dishes.

Job Outlook & Salary

Upon graduation, students may seek employment opportunities in manufacturing, eating establishments, publishing, and grocery stores. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for bakers are expected to have increase by 1.6% from 2010-2020. The BLS also reported that median hourly salary was $11.13 and median annual salary was $23,140 as of May 2012.

Recommended Schools

Matching School Ads

Turn your passion for food into a career at the Culinary Institute of Virginia.


  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Applied Nutrition
  • Culinary Arts
  • And more...
Locations:  Norfolk

Your creativity is a big part of who you are and where you're going. To take it, and your future, as far as you want, you need an education that's focused on developing your talents and putting you on the path toward the creative career that stirs your imagination.


  • Baking & Pastry (C)
  • Culinary Arts (AS)
  • Culinary Arts (C)
  • And more...
Locations:  Durham