Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in Georgia

Do you enjoy baking and creating new desserts? Do you have artistic skills that you love to show off in the food you create? If so, then you may enjoy a career as a baking and pastry chef in Georgia. From designing the perfect wedding cake to adding the final touches to a dessert served at a party or restaurant, pastry chefs know that both taste and looks are essential when constructing their masterpieces.

A baking and pastry chefs’ tasks aren’t limited to creating treats, though. They also oversee staff, purchase supplies and food, and some have business responsibilities as well. Pastry chefs must possess culinary ability and have some creative skills, whether it comes naturally or they learn them through classes or training. They should also have excellent leadership skills, customer service skills and a keen eye for detail.

Requirements for Baking and Pastry Chefs in Georgia

The career of a baking and pastry chef is not regulated by the state of Georgia, meaning the state has no set educational and licensure requirements for this career. However, since this is a job in the foodservice industry, you will need to know the guidelines both locally and statewide and work accordingly.

Generally, pastry chefs will need at least a high school diploma or GED both to work and to take classes.

Pastry chefs do need training, whether it is on the job, through an apprenticeship or through completing a certificate or degree program. Some chefs start by working in the kitchen of a restaurant and working their way up while taking classes at the same time.

Baking and Pastry Chef Training in Georgia

You can train as a pastry chef by working under an experienced chef or completing an apprenticeship program. You can also take culinary arts classes through a local technical college or university. Here are a few of the programs available in Georgia:

  • Savannah Technical College. Savannah Technical College offers both a diploma and an associate’s degree in Culinary Baking and Pastry Arts. Students will learn the basics of baking as well as how to create and decorate fancy showpieces. The diploma program can be completed in four terms and the degree program in five terms. The degree program consists of general education classes in addition to culinary arts classes.
  • Gwinnett Technical College. At Gwinnett Tech, students can earn a Baking and Pastry Specialist diploma. Students learn the technical and theoretical skills of the job while practicing their skills in a professional setting. The program can be completed in two semesters.
  • Athens Technical College. Athens Technical College offers a variety of certificate, diploma and degree programs for those interested in the culinary arts. For those specifically interested in becoming a baking and pastry chef, a certificate as a baking and pastry specialist can be earned. Coursework includes Foundation of Cooking Techniques, Baking Principles and Advanced Cakes and Sugar and Chocolate Techniques. To receive the certificate, you must complete 28 credit hours, which can typically be done in two semesters.

Certifications for Pastry Chefs

The job field for chefs is considered highly competitive, so you should consider taking an opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition. This includes earning additional certifications. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) is the primary organization for chef certification. There are a few levels of accreditation that pastry chefs may be eligible for, based on their experience. You must also pass an exam to earn the certification.

Salary and Job Outlook in Georgia

If you are considering a career as a baking and pastry chef in Georgia, now is an ideal time. The growth rate and salary for this profession are both holding steady right now. The average hourly wage for chefs and head cooks, including pastry chefs, in the state is $25.43, and the annual average is $52,890. This is slightly higher than the average national salary for this career.

As far as growth rate goes, the number of chefs working in the state of Georgia is expected to see a nine percent increase by the year 2026. The national growth rate for this job field is also nine percent. More than four hundred new chef jobs are expected to become available over the next few years in the state.

Working as a Pastry Chef in Georgia

The places that you may work as a baking and pastry chef include restaurants, hotels, catering agencies and the travel industry. Many baking and pastry chefs run their own businesses. Due to the variety of settings in which a pastry chef can work, you will probably be able to find work almost anywhere in the state. However, some of the more populated cities like Atlanta and Savannah will be the most likely places to find work. Some potential employers in Georgia are The Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market, The Drayton Hotel and Embassy Suites.

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