What Can I Do with a Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts?

Learn more about what you can do with a degree in baking and pastry arts. Find information on business careers, job outlook, salary, and recommended schools. View popular culinary schools that prepare students for careers in baking & pastry arts.


The next time you attend a birthday celebration, wedding reception or holiday party take notice of the baked goods that are being consumed. Cakes, pastries and cookies are all made by bakers and pastry chefs. Individuals employed in this profession are often the unsung heroes of celebratory events. However, without these talented individuals partygoers would not be able to enjoy their food.

Generally speaking, bakers and pastry chefs face challenging work conditions. In addition to the fact that these professionals work long hours on their feet, individuals employed in these occupations often do not command high salaries. Even though these challenges exist, individuals that enter these professions often do so because of a love of baking and working with their hands. Thus, even though many bakers and pastry chefs will not become wealthy as a result of their career choice, those in this profession often derive a considerable amount of satisfaction from the work they complete. Some notable exceptions for bakers and pastry chefs have been seen in recent years. Buddy from the hit TLC show “Cake Boss” has achieved a considerable amount of fame and fortune as a baker and pastry chef. Buddy’s love of the work and his dedication to the profession has resulted in a high degree of success.


Careers for bakers and pastry chefs vary based on the training and education of the professional as well as the organization in which the professional is employed. While many bakers and pastry chefs receive on the job training that is vital to their advancement, may also seek formal education through two year degree (Associate) programs or certification/diplomas through vocational or technical schools. After completing training in these programs, graduates will be qualified to work in a number of baker or pastry chef niches including: wedding and cake design, culinary desserts, food safety, chocolates and confections, bread making and pastry design. Although each of these career paths requires basic knowledge of baking techniques, each career will require the development of unique skills and knowledge that are commonly learned through first-hand experience. Professionals with formal education may also be able to enter into supervisory roles including head pastry chef or food service management.

Industry Salary Info

As previously noted, salaries for bakers and pastry chefs are not that generous. On average, individuals in this profession can expect to make $22,000 annually. Top professionals in the field can command salaries as high as $35,000. However these professionals may be required to work long hours and provide management supports outside of baking responsibilities. While careers for bakers and pastry chefs are not very lucrative, there are a number of factors that will influence salary level. For instance, formal education will enable a professional to enter into the profession in a mid-level position with a higher salary. Additionally, experience in a specific area or niche will provide the professional with a broader range of skills, increasing overall earnings. Bakers and pastry chefs that move into management positions may also be able to command higher salaries. Additional education in restaurant management or business may provide the needed supports for higher earnings in this field.

Job Outlook

Demand for bakers and pastry chefs is expected to be flat through 2018. Although more companies will be seeking freshly baked products for their restaurants and hotels, cost reductions through the use of bakers with high capacity kitchens will limit the number of positions available for professionals. Bakers with high capacity kitchens will be able to provide baked goods for companies at a lower price by limiting the number of bakers needed to produce high volumes of baked goods. Even though job growth for the profession is anticipated to be lackluster, professionals willing to obtain formal education and experience in a niche market may be able to acquire additional job opportunities. Further, professionals that are willing to seek entrepreneurial ventures (e.g., starting their own bakery or restaurant) may also have additional job opportunities. Professionals pursuing this career pathway may need to consider additional education in business and management to be successful as an entrepreneur.

Recommended Schools

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


  • Baking and Pastry Arts
  • Applied Nutrition
  • Culinary Arts
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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)
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Locations:  Durham

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  • DIP - Pastry Arts
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Locations:  Richmond