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Online Baking and Pastry Degrees


Article Sources
  • Associate of Occupational Studies in Baking & Pastry Arts - Online, New England Culinary Institute,https://www.neci.edu/program/online-programs.php, accessed November 2018
  • Bachelor of Arts in Baking and Pastry Arts - Online, New England Culinary Institute,https://www.neci.edu/program/online-programs.php, accessed November 2018
  • Bakers 51-3011.00, National Center for O*NET Development,https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/51-3011.00, accessed November 2018
  • Bakers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/bakers.htm, accessed November 2018
  • Baking & Pastry Arts and Food Service Management - BS, JWU Online, https://online.jwu.edu/academics/undergraduate/baking-pastry-arts-and-food-service-management?_ga=2.156554418.803183429.1541856330-475205500.1541856330, accessed November 2018
  • Baking and Pastry Arts, Associate in Applied Science, St. Louis Community College,https://catalog.stlcc.edu/programs/baking-pastry-arts-aas/#text, accessed November 2018
  • Baking and Pastry Skills and Operations (CTBPAS) Certificate, Washtenaw Community College,http://www.wccnet.edu/academics/programs/view/program/CTBPAS/, accessed November 2018
  • Food Preparation Workers, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook,https://www.bls.gov/ooh/food-preparation-and-serving/food-preparation-workers.htm, accessed November 2018
  • Pastry and Baking Certificate, Saint Paul College,https://www.saintpaul.edu/programs/pastry-and-baking, accessed November 2018
  • The rise of specialty bakeries, Baking Business, August 2017,https://www.bakingbusiness.com/articles/32544-the-rise-of-specialty-bakeries
  • The Workforce Gap in U.S. Commercial Baking: Trends, Challenges and Solutions, American Bakers Association and the American Society of Baking, 2016,https://www.asbe.org/assets/1/7/ABA_Workforce_Gap_Final_Report_061516.pdf
  • Why the Future Looks Bright for Retail Bakeries, Bake, May 2017https://www.bakemag.com/articles/5664-why-the-future-looks-bright-for-retail-bakeries
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There's much more to a baking and pastry career than being able to bake. Apart from their creative and culinary skills, bakers and pastry artisans need to be able to run a business profitably. Bakers should typically love working with their hands and possess basic skills in math for measuring out ingredients specified in a recipe. They should have physical strength and stamina as working in a professional bakery may require heavy lifting of raw materials and long hours of standing. Being detail-oriented can be an asset for creating intricate cake designs and decorations.

A baking and pastry degree online can help you develop the skills you need to be successful in the baking and pastry industry. Since hands-on practical experience is an important part of a baking and pastry education, online colleges often offer hybrid baking and pastry degree programs giving students a chance to enjoy the convenience of online education and gain practical experience on-campus. Some online baking and pastry degree programs require students to complete short residencies on campus.

Online and hybrid degree programs in baking and pastry can suit recent high school graduates, working professionals and career changers who need the flexibility provided by these programs to learn at their own pace, in their own time.

Why enroll in an online baking and pastry degree program?

According to a 2016 joint report by the American Bakers Association (ABA) and the American Society of Baking (ASB), the job market is looking for bakers who not only possess baking skills but have general manufacturing technical skills, technology/computer skills, and math skills. Digital studies offer a chance for students to develop these technical skills that may well translate to a variety of different applications in the baking industry, such as food safety labeling systems, menu planning and inventory management software

There is a rise in specialty bakeries focusing on a specific product category, such as cupcakes or donuts, often catering to higher end clientele.

Depending on where graduates of baking and pastry programs work, their jobs can involve extremely early mornings or late nights. Holidays and weekends can be some of their busiest times as well. They may work in specialty bakeries, retail locations, sandwich shops, high-end hotels or restaurants where some of their duties may include:

  • Ensuring that ingredients are ordered and are of good quality
  • Weighing, measuring and mixing the various ingredients
  • Kneading dough, shaping and baking it
  • Hiring, training and supervising staff
  • Budgeting, ordering supplies and setting prices
  • Using high-volume mixing machines, ovens, and other equipment, to produce high volumes of baked products

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand for specialty baked goods is expected to rise due to the combined factors of population growth and increased income. Additionally, job opportunities are expected to be good as workers leaving the profession will likely need to be replaced. The table below describes the job outlook, job openings and average salary for occupations related to the field for 2016 to 2026 using data from the BLS.

Career
Employment
(2017)
Average Salary
(2017)
Projected Job Growth
(2016 - 26)
Bakers182,890$27,9206.3%
Source: 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2016-26 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Choose a degree that can help you meet your career goals

Six out of ten companies (60%) reported an increase in skilled positions over the past five years

According to the BLS, entry-level roles for food preparation workers and bakers can be open to individuals with no formal education credentials. However, many individuals choose to attend formal culinary education degree programs to advance their careers to better-paying positions. Online baking and pastry degree programs range from associate to master's level programs. Certificate programs are available for individuals who cannot commit to an entire degree program but still want some college education. Graduate programs often concentrate on the business aspects of the baking and pastry industry preparing you for management roles in the industry.

What can I expect to learn in an online certificate program?

Certificate programs can give you the foundational skills you need to prepare baked goods like cakes and pastries. They can also introduce you to the business aspects needed for a baking and pastry career.

Typical duration: Up to one year of part-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: You may see the following topics included in your curriculum for your baking and pastry certificate program:

  • Fundamentals of baking
  • Cake decorating techniques
  • Culinary nutrition theory
  • Principles of culinary leadership
Three-fourths (74%) of specialty bakeries make products from scratch and concentrate a higher percentage of sales than full-line bakeries on cupcakes, coffee and sandwiches.

What can I expect to learn in an online associate degree program?

It's not all about the sweet stuff — students of associate baking and pastry degree programs can expect to acquire the skills to bake savory pastries along with cakes and other desserts. You may learn how the hospitality industry works to give you a larger understanding of the field.

Typical duration: Up to two years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: You can expect to have general education courses and business topics included in your curriculum along with your core courses. Some courses you may take are:

  • Sanitation, allergens and introduction to purchasing and cost control
  • Contemporary dessert design and pastry techniques
  • Introduction to baking theory
  • Artisan and decorative bread
  • Chocolate Candies and Showpieces

You may have to complete an externship as a part of your degree program.

Possible electives: Specialty cakes; meeting and event planning; fundamentals of management

Job candidates do not have the skills companies need in order to fill hourly, skilled production positions — U.S. Commercial Baking Manufacturers.

What can I expect to learn in an online bachelor's degree program?

Bachelor's degree programs in baking and pastry go beyond the basics to give students a fuller understanding of the art and science behind the perfect dish. Apart from advanced baking techniques, students can also learn the fundamental business and entrepreneurial skills needed to run a successful baking business.

Typical duration: Up to four years of full-time study

General prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent

Typical coursework: Topics can range from food preparation to nutrition alongside general education curricula. Some courses you may take are:

  • Chocolates and confections
  • Advanced breads
  • Hot and cold desserts
  • Technology in the food and beverage industry
  • Advanced food service operations management

You may have to complete an externship as a part of your online baking and pastry degree program.

Possible electives: Advanced viennoiserie; allergens and specialty diets; pastry showpieces

What can I expect to learn in an online master's degree program?

Online master's degrees in baking and pastry are extremely rare. However, students who want to continue their education beyond a bachelor's degree may benefit from a master's level hospitality degree. This can give you the skills needed to reach upper management roles in the restaurant, catering and hospitality industry.

What can I do after earning a master's degree?

You may be able to gain employment in establishments like bakeries, pastry shops and candy shops. Department stores with confectionary and backed goods counters are also potential employers. Restaurants, retail bakeries, cruise ships and hotels can also require the services of baking and pastry professionals

A certificate in baking can make you eligible for entry-level roles in the baking and pastry industry. An associate degree in baking and pastry may allow you to earn entry-level positions in larger establishments including hotels and resorts. Bachelor's degrees may equip you for entry-level roles in multinational hotel and resort chains or give you the skills you need to start your own business. Some potential job titles include:

  • Baker
  • Bakery manager
  • Cake decorator
  • Dessert chef
  • Pastry chef

Accreditation

The accreditation status of your program can play an important role while applying for federal financial aid or professional certifications. The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission (ACFEFAC) is the main accrediting body for baking and pastry programs in the country. Accreditation by the ACFEFAC can demonstrate to potential employers that the education you have received is up-to-date, relevant, and meets or exceeds industry standards for education and training.

Certifications

Moving up the food chain can be a challenge in the culinary world, where day-to-day life is stressful and competition is stiff. While certification is not required for pastry professionals, it is one option for improving job prospects. Individuals need to satisfy various educational and work experience requirements in order to receive them. The Retail Bakers of America offers four different certifications, namely:

  • Certified Journey Baker (CJB)
  • Certified Baker (CB)
  • Certified Decorator (CD)
  • Certified Master Baker (CMB)

The American Culinary Federation also offers six certifications for baking and pastry professionals.

Employment Statistics

Bakers

Industries with the highest concentration of employment
  • Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing
  • Food and Beverage Stores
  • General Merchandise Stores
  • Special Food Services
  • Sugar and Confectionery Product Manufacturing
States with the highest level of employment
  • California
  • Texas
  • New York
  • Florida
  • Pennsylvania
Top-paying metropolitan areas
  • Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina, HI
  • Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, NC
  • Nashua, NH-MA NECTA Division
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Taunton-Middleborough-Norton, MA NECTA Divn

Source: 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov.

There are quite a few scholarships and financial aid programs out there for eligible students of baking and pastry programs offered by various professional organizations and foundations. We've listed a few below to help you get started in your search.

Other resources for those aspiring to work in the field of baking and pastry

Article Sources
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