Online Colleges for Baking and Pastry
Desserts in American restaurants once tended to be staples like key lime pie and crepe suzettes, but as the Washington Post reported in a 2004 profile of retiring White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier, that has changed dramatically. Now, thanks to the accomplishments of high-profile chefs like Mesnier, desserts -- and their pastry chef and baker creators -- are respected and sought-after professionals with healthy career prospects.
Online Baking and Pastry Programs
While apprenticeships and workplace experience are of primary importance in entering and advancing in this field, the Department of Labor reports that more than a third of bakers have taken college-level courses and nearly a third of chefs hold an associate degree, so obtaining these credentials could make you more competitive for jobs. Hundreds of postsecondary programs around the country have been certified by the American Culinary Institution, and graduating from one of these programs demonstrates a mastery of cooking and baking techniques.
Hands-on training in a kitchen is important in any culinary arts field, but online baking and pastry programs are available that can provide web-based instruction. For example, an ACF-certified online Introduction to Baking course covers everything from basic cakes to mixing methods for lean breads. Related online baking and pastry degrees can also be found in fields focused on cooking and catering, gourmet cooking, hotel and restaurant management, and more.
Job Outlook for Bakers and Pastry Chefs
All sorts of restaurants are in need of pastry chefs, and hotel restaurants are an especially excellent place for pastry chefs to find jobs, with a 2011 hotel restaurant jobs growth rate of 5.7 percent predicted by the American Restaurant Association. However, there are baking and pastry jobs to be found in every kind of location. Tourism hotspots in Nevada and Hawaii have high concentrations of chef jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while North Carolina, Idaho and Virginia are predicted by the ARA to have the highest restaurant sales growth of 2011. Chefs and head cooks earned mean annual wages of $44,780, according to 2010 BLS data, while those working as first-line supervisors earned mean annual incomes of $31,700. Other fields that could be of interest to those who want to work in the culinary or restaurant field, include becoming a food service manager or prep worker. Opportunities could also also be available in hotel and lodging management.