How Long Does Baking School Take?

Breads, cakes and other pastries are the handiwork of bakers. From ensuring that the ingredients are fresh to mixing them together to ensuring that the oven temperature is set just right to applying the icing and other toppings, bakers supply bakeshops, pastry shops, groceries and even wholesale food companies with these mouthwatering baked goodies. If this is the kind of work that you see yourself doing in the future then it may be well-worth the investment to go to baking school.

Let’s be clear about one thing: It is possible to still become a baker without attending baking school. The way to do this would be to get a job in a bakeshop and learn while under the supervision of an experienced baker. There are a lot of drawbacks to this route.

First, more and more restaurants and pastry shops are hiring bakers who already know what to do because they have received the necessary training in a baking school. They don’t want to waste precious hours training new employees especially when they have to work quickly to ensure that they need to produce a certain number of pastries in a limited time span.

Second, your range of baking skills will also be limited since you will obviously only learn the specialties of the restaurant or pastry shop where you will be working in.

There are actually different lengths for courses offered in baking or culinary schools. If you want the shortest route, you can enroll in certificate programs which will teach you basic baking schools or specific baking techniques in anywhere from three to twelve months. At the International Culinary Center in New York and California, for example, you can learn professional pastry arts in six months. In its New York campus, there is also a three-month course on cake techniques and design.

If you want more formal training, however, you can obtain an associate’s degree. This normally takes about two years to complete although there are those that are shorter. The Culinary Institute of America, for example, offers an associate degree in baking and pastry arts which teach students how to make breads, desserts and other baked goods. The program also covers topics on “basic cooking, nutrition, writing, menu development, communication, food safety, and cost control.” This course can be finished in just 21 months.

A bachelor’s degree is another way to become a baker, although this is typically for those who want to aspire for management positions or want to open their own businesses someday. Bachelor’s degree programs normally take four years to complete. At The Culinary Institute of America, however, a student can complete his bachelor’s degree in culinary arts management or bachelor’s degree in baking and pastry arts management in just 17 months for as long as he has finished his associate degree program in the same school.

At Johnson & Wales University, meanwhile, graduates of the associate in science degree in baking and pastry arts or culinary arts will be able to obtain their bachelor’s degree in baking and pastry arts after two years. In their third and fourth years, they will be taking up major courses, related professional studies, general studies and an internship.

Career Spotlight: Baker

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