How to Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Alaska
Baking and pastry chefs are professionals who use both culinary and artistic skills. They specialize in the creation of desserts like cakes, cookies, pastries and more. However, a baking and pastry chef’s job entails much more than just baking and decorating. They are responsible for many business-related tasks such as keeping up with inventory, placing orders, keeping a budget and managing staff. Baking and pastry chefs often work long shifts as well as weekends and holidays. They also need to be able to work in a fast-paced environment and spend a lot of time on their feet.
Requirements for Pastry Chefs in Alaska
Alaska does not have any specific guidelines for working as a baking and pastry chef in the state, and licensure is not mandatory either. The minimal education requirement for this profession is a high school diploma or GED. You may be able to find a job as an entry-level baking and pastry chef and then receive training on the job. Or, if you know an established pastry chef, you may see if they are willing to take you on as an apprentice, or you can enroll in an apprenticeship program.
Furthermore, there are educational training programs offered at many local technical and community colleges and universities. Some pastry chefs learn while working in other positions in the kitchen until they have worked their way up the ladder to a chef’s job. However you choose to receive your training, if you work in this industry you will need to be aware of and comply with the local and statewide foodservice industry regulations.
Alaska Training Programs for Pastry Chefs
Alaska does have a few schools that offer culinary arts programs, but only a few have specific training programs for baking and pastry chefs. The best option in the state is the program offered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Here, students can earn a certificate in Baking and Pastry Arts. Thirty credits make up this program, and it can be completed in approximately one year. Some examples of coursework include Introduction to Baking and Pastry, Art in Cake Icing and Gourmet Baking.
The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the most popular program in the culinary field for accreditation and certifications. Certification is not mandatory to work as a baking and pastry chef in the state, but this is a very competitive field, and you should take advantage of any way that you can set yourself apart from your peers to increase your chances of getting hired. Other benefits of certification include higher pay and career advancement.
There are a handful of certifications that baking and pastry chefs can receive through the ACF, such as Certified Fundamentals Pastry Cook and Certified Working Pastry Chef. You must also pass an examination to become certified.
Alaska Salaries and Career Growth Projections
The job field for this career is steadily growing. According to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP), chefs and head cooks (which include baking and pastry chefs) are predicted to see a 9.6 percent increase in the number of jobs nationwide between 2016 and 2026. In the state of Alaska, they are expected to see a rise of 8.9 percent, which is just below the national growth rate. At least 40 new baking and pastry chef jobs are expected to become available in Alaska during that time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018 chefs in Alaska made an hourly average of $25.00 and an annual average of $51,990.
Career Opportunities in Alaska for Baking and Pastry Chefs
Baking and pastry chefs may focus on one specific area of baking and pastry, or they may make an assortment of baked goods. Some of the places that baking and pastry chefs may work include hotels, restaurants, bakeries, cruise lines, resorts, catering companies, private homes and casinos. They might also have their own business. There are plenty of opportunities for work throughout the state, but some of the bigger cities like Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau are great places to begin looking for work. Some of the more significant employers in the state are Albertsons Companies and Creekside Lodging and Café.