How to become a baker: Guide to starting a baking career


It’s hard not to become inspired by some of the magnificent confectionaries that you see in bakeries, in stores and on television. Not only does baking include following a specific set of instructions to create the final product that comes out of the oven, but there is also the aspect of decorating and presenting baked goods, so they look like works of art.

If you’re interested in how to become a baker yourself, there are a few different paths that you can take to become educated and experienced. This will ensure that you have access to all kinds of opportunities once you enter the workforce. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know for a successful journey to becoming a baker, including the most effective and proven methods.

Decide What Type of Baker You Want to Become

Many people assume that there is simply one kind of baker who knows how to do it all. While this may be the case with some experienced professionals who have been working in the culinary industry for many years, there are different paths you can take to become a baker. Some options include:

Head Baker

When you combine your education as a baker with experience in the real world, you can get on the fast track to becoming a head baker. This is an experienced professional who often oversees the other bakers at a location.

Pastry Chef

A pastry chef is responsible for creating all kinds of baked goods, such as cakes, cupcakes, pies, breads and sometimes even candy.

Learn more about our Pastry and Bakery 7-week professional certificate course.

Artisan Baker

Becoming an artisan baker requires a great deal of baker education because of how skilled this profession is. There is a deep understanding of how different creations are made.

Assistant Baker

A professional baker will require help, even if they are extremely experienced. An assistant baker will be the second in charge, helping the head baker with all of the daily jobs that need to be completed.

Apprentice Baker

Bakery qualifications vary from one location to the next, but there may be a need for you to work as an apprentice baker for a certain amount of time before you can settle into your own position. This gives you information on the various responsibilities that may exist in a bakery.

What Qualifications and Education Are Needed to Become a Baker

The actual type of education that you complete will depend on what kind of baking career you want to obtain once you’re out of school. Keep in mind that some positions may not require a formal education at all, but this isn’t necessarily the most effective way to be one of the top bakers of your generation.

Culinary and baking academies offer two-year, four-year and other certification programs that teach a variety of information about baking, following recipes, decorating, presentation, maintaining a sanitary environment, management, etc.

The more experience you have working in different bakeries and restaurants, the more qualified you become. Most employers appreciate having a versatile resume that includes a lot of different types of experience mixed with education and continuing education of some sort. It helps to keep up with the developments in the culinary and baking industries. This can include renewing certain certifications and taking additional classes, regardless of having completed a degree program at one time or another.

Necessary Qualifications to Become a Professional Baker

Before you apply for culinary school, make sure that you meet the requirements for that specific program. It’s likely you’re going to need a high school education or the equivalent. You may also need experience in the culinary industry, regardless of whether you’ve worked in baking or not.

Some of the most notable culinary academies in the world may want you to submit letters of reference as part of your application process. Also, make sure that you determine whether or not you can afford a specific program. Many culinary schools offer financial assistance and scholarship opportunities to help you offset the cost.

Different Types of Baking Degrees and Certificates

Baking courses are available at different levels, including:

Diploma of Baking and Pastry Arts

This diploma generally takes about two years to complete if you are going to school as a full-time student. The curriculum can vary from one school to another but generally focuses on the basics of baking, the fundamentals of using yeast, pastry arts, decorating, etc. Some schools may also provide management information for this degree program.

Bachelor of Science in Baking and Pastry Arts

This four-year degree program is more involved than an associate’s program. You learn more about desserts from different time periods and cultures, how to bake for different events and settings, the decorating and design of baked goods and wedding cakes, and the different methods of planning a menu.

Associate / Bachelor of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts

These two- and four-year baking programs offer baking theory information as well as hands-on learning. You learn about baking fundamentals, food preparation, food pairing, bread, food service, and management.

What Skills Do I Need to Become a Baker?

There are a number of personality traits and skills that can help you on your journey to becoming a baker. This includes:

Paying Close Attention to Detail

Baking requires you to follow a recipe very carefully so that the final product turns out as intended. Also, the decorating and presentation of these items are important. It’s ideal that you can focus on and pay close attention to these specific details.

Understanding Basic Math Skills

There may be times when you need to divide or multiply a recipe to make less or more of something. You may also be working in a role that requires you to adhere to a budget or order ingredients. While you won’t need to know how to do extensive math equations as part of your job, comprehension of basic math is important.

The Ability to Multi-Task

During the course of a shift of work, you may need to focus on multiple tasks at once in order to keep up with everything that needs to be done. The ability to multi-task can increase productivity and profit.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Baker?

The time frame that it takes to become a baker really varies from one person to the next. For example, you can often get your foot in the door by completing a two-year degree and then finding an entry-level position at a bakery or restaurant of some sort. This allows you to work your way up the corporate ladder.

Some people choose to spend more time in school with the goal of finding a slightly higher position when it comes time to apply for a job. There is also the option of working as an apprentice to gain more valuable information and skills before branching out on your own.

How Can HRC Academy Help You Become a Professional Baker?

If you’re ready to get started with becoming a professional baker, HRC Academy is the perfect school to start your career. Check out our Pastry and Bakery program to find out more.

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