How to Become a Baker

It’s never too late to make a career change, and whether you daydream of frosting tips and fondant while staring out the window of your office, or you’re fresh out of school and want to turn your baking hobby into a profession, it’s not as out-of-reach as you might think.

There are several opportunities for baking enthusiasts in the professional foodservice industry. You could work in a neighborhood cafe, as a pastry chef at a restaurant, or in the bakery department of a grocery store. You can even go the self-employed route and sell your delicious creations at farmers markets and specialty shops. But before you create a your first cupcake for sale, there are some steps you should take before launching your new career as a baker:

Enroll in baking classes

Even if you’ve been baking cookies since you could reach the counter and have mastered dozens of family and self-created recipes, few professional bakeries or restaurants will hire you without professional training. Enrolling in a culinary or baking school will not only teach you new techniques and recipes, but it will also give you practice with large-scale baking and working under pressure.

Culinary and baking programs typically last about 1 to 2 years, and offer a comprehensive education including nutrition, health, food science, and other relevant subjects. You might think you know enough about baking already, but a degree from a culinary school will assure future employers that you can succeed in a professional setting. Plus, many programs also offer job placement assistance, getting you even closer to the baking job of your dreams.


Apply for an apprenticeship

Professional training in a classroom setting is important for prospective bakers, but real-world experience is valuable as well. After completing your education, the next step is to apply for an apprenticeship or training program at a local artisan bakery, grocery store, or mass-market manufacturing facility. In addition to introducing you to specialized and industrial-sized equipment, apprenticeships allow you to fine-tune your training and skills and learn techniques and recipes you wouldn’t learn anywhere else. Plus, many apprenticeships transfer directly into permanent employment, so it’s important to treat the opportunity with the seriousness it deserves, rather than as a steppingstone on the path to your professional career.

Select a specialty

Baking is just one branch of the overall culinary world, but there are many pathways to choose. You might decide you love baking desserts more than anything, or you might lean toward breads and pastries. It’s not unheard of for bakeries and restaurants to employ different bakers for different specialties, but if you enjoy baking anything and everything, grocery store or commercial bakeries might be a better fit. And if you have a creative streak, you can narrow your job search to small-scale artisan bakeries. The possibilities are endless, especially if you’re willing to relocate for the perfect position.


Consider a certification

Your culinary education doesn’t need to stop with a degree from a culinary school. To make yourself stand out even more among bakery jobseekers, or to advance your existing banking career to new heights, consider becoming a certified baker. To obtain a certification in baking, you must meet various education and experience-based requirements, in addition to passing an exam that proves your competence. The three levels of certification are:

  • Certified Journey Baker: No formal education needed, but one year of work experience
  • Certified Baker: Four years of work experience
  • Certified Master Baker: Eight years of work experience plus 30 hours of professional development training and 30 hours of sanitation coursework you might not need certification to pursue a fulfilling career in the baking arts, but it’s a good idea if you plan on starting your own baking business.


Start your baking career at National & Culinary Baking School

If you’re ready to trade keyboards and staplers for spatulas and whisks, National Culinary &  Baking School in San Diego can help you start your journey to the baking career of your dreams. We offer several programs including Bakery & Pastry Arts and Advanced Confectionary &; Sugar Arts, plus financing programs and job assistance. For more information, give us a call at (619) 249-5180 today.