How to Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Nebraska

If you like baking and want to learn more about creating tasty treats like cakes, cookies, donuts and pies, then you may want to consider a career as a baking and pastry chef. Being a pastry chef does require some baking and cooking skills as well as decorating skills, but there is more to this job than baking and decorating. Pastry chefs also oversee budgets, supervise staff, order supplies and create new recipes.

What are the Requirements for Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in Nebraska?

There aren’t any guidelines for working as baking and pastry chef in Nebraska, and the minimum education requirement is a high school diploma or its equivalent. But you will need to receive training to learn the necessary skills required to work in this career. There is more than one way that you can receive this training. You can either start out working in the kitchen in a restaurant or café and work your way up or you start as an entry-level baking and pastry chef and receive on-the- job training. You can also complete a formal training program at a local community college or university. If you choose to work in the food industry, you will need to know and be able to follow the regulations of the local and statewide foodservice industry.

Training Programs for Baking and Pastry Chefs in Nebraska

If you are interested in the formal training route, several schools in Nebraska offer specialized training for baking and pastry chefs. These programs will help you obtain the foundational skills and knowledge for preparing and decorating baked goods. Some of the programs in the state include:

  • Metropolitan Community College. Metropolitan Community College offers a certificate of achievement and an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Culinary Arts and Management with a focus on Baking and Pastry at the Fort Omaha campus. The certificate of achievement can be completed in one year or three semesters and consists of 48.5 credit hours. It also counts toward the A.A.S. degree if you decide you would like to pursue that. The degree prepares students for a professional career as a baking and pastry chef. This program can be completed in two years and consists of 97.5-103.5 credit hours, depending on which electives you take.
  • Southeast Community College. Southeast Community College offers a baking and pastry focused Culinary Arts program in which students can earn a diploma, certificate or Associate in Applied Science degree. The programs can be completed in one to two years, depending on which path you choose. This program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Coursework includes Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, Artistry and Advanced Cake Design and Advanced Baking and Pastry.

Certification or Licensing of Pastry Chefs in Nebraska

Nebraska does not require certification or licensure to work as a baking and pastry chef in the state, but there are benefits to earning certification. If you are looking into certification, consider one or more of several types offered through the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

The ACF provides six certifications for baking and pastry chefs. These include Certified Fundamentals Pastry Cook (CFPC), Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC) and Certified Executive Pastry Chef (CEPC). To become certified through the ACF, you will need to pass both a practical and written exam.

Salary Potential and Job Outlook for Baking and Pastry Chefs in Nebraska

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, head chefs and cooks (which includes baking and pastry chefs) across the United States made an annual average of $48,460 in 2018. In Nebraska, the average yearly salary for this career is a little lower, at $44,180, or $21.24 hourly. However, this is still a decent salary.

Job growth is also stable for this career, with a predicted increase of 9.6 percent nationally between the years 2016 and 2026, and 11.6 percent during the same period in the state of Nebraska.

What it’s Like to Work as a Pastry Chef in Nebraska

Baking and pastry chefs work in a fast-paced environment with long and sometimes unpredictable hours. These include early mornings, late nights, holidays and weekends. You will often spend most of the time you are working on your feet. You will also need to have excellent organizational skills, leadership skills and be able to pay close attention to detail.

You might expect to find work in places like bakeries, cafes, country clubs, hotels and restaurants. Or you may run your own business. There should be plenty of work options in the state, but you may want to start with some of the more well-known cities like Lincoln and Omaha.

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