How to Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Florida

Baking and pastry chefs are chefs who specialize in the creation of decorative cakes, breads and other desserts and treats. To work as a baking and pastry chef, you need to have knowledge of baking and come creative skills. However, in this line of work you will need other skills including business, customer service and leadership skills.

Tasks of a pastry chef might include creating and testing new recipes or adding their style to existing ones, maintaining a budget for their department or bakery if they work independently, ordering ingredients and supplies and supervising other employees.

Steps to Becoming a Pastry Chef in Florida

Florida does not have any licensure or certification requirements to work as a baking and pastry chef, but you will at least need a high school diploma or its equivalent to begin training.

Some specialized training is then necessary to work as a pastry chef, and it can be achieved through a variety of methods. The first way is to gain experience on the job. Many pastry chefs work their way up, starting as a dishwasher or cook, then finally making it up to a chef position. Or you can try to find an apprenticeship and train under an experienced chef. There are also certificate and degree programs available through community colleges, trade schools and universities. If you are planning on owning your own bakery, you will need to familiarize yourself with foodservice industry regulations.

Florida Educational Programs

Florida has several culinary arts programs that offer specializations in baking and pastries.

Here are a few examples of these programs:

  • Valencia College. Valencia College offers a certificate program in Baking and Pastry Arts and an Associate in Science degree in Baking and Pastry Management. The certificate program consists of 35 credits and can be completed in a year or less. The credits from the certificate program can be applied toward the degree program, which consists of 60 credits that can be taken part-time and completed in three to four years or taken full-time and completed in two to three years. Students are taught through instruction and hands-on experience in which they create bread, cakes, pastries and more.
  • Florida Technical College. Florida Technical College has a Baking and Pasteleria diploma program in which students learn the theoretical and practical aspects of the career as well as how to prepare and create various desserts. The program can be completed in 13 months and consists of 65 credits.
  • Daytona State College. The Mori Hosseini College of Hospitality and Culinary Management at Daytona State College has a Baking and Pastry Arts certificate program. Students will learn the skills and techniques needed to work in this job field. The 35 credits required to earn the certificate can be completed in three semesters.

Pastry Chef Certifications

To dress up your resume and present yourself as a desirable employee, you may want to consider getting a certification. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is one of the preferred agencies for certifications among baking and pastry chefs. The ACF offers six pastry certifications: Certified Fundamentals Pastry Cook (CFPC), Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC), Certified Working Pastry Chef (CWPC), Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC) and Certified Master Pastry Chef (CMPC). To get one of these certifications, you must have a high school diploma or have taken a certain number of continuing education hours, and take and pass the accompanying exam.

Salary and Career Growth Data in Florida

When salary data and employment numbers are collected, baking and pastry chefs are included in the broader category of chefs and head cooks. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in Florida the mean hourly salary for this profession is $25.17, while the average annual salary is $52,350.

Growth for chefs and head cooks, including baking and pastry chefs, in the state is also active. Florida is expected to see a 17 percent increase in the number of chefs in the state by the year 2026. Also, Florida has the third-highest employment level nationwide in this career.

Job Outlook in Florida

Pastry chefs may be employed in larger hotels, restaurants and bakeries. Or, they may run their own bakery or a baking business out of their home. With high employment levels and growth throughout the state, Florida is a great place to work as a baking and pastry chef. Some of the cities with higher employment rates for chefs in the state include Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Kissimmee and Sandford. The Cape Coral and Fort Myers region is the highest paying area in the state, with chefs here bringing in an average yearly salary of $71,940.

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