Baking and Pastry Chefs in New Jersey

Baking and pastry chefs use their culinary talents, artistic abilities and scientific knowledge to create beautiful and tasty treats. However, there is a lot more to being a pastry chef than baking. Pastry chefs are also responsible for many of the day-to-day aspects of running a business.

A career as a pastry chef requires the ability to work in a high stress, time-sensitive environment, while managing staff and handling customer service. Chefs tend to work long hours on their feet and often work evenings, weekends and early mornings. Aside from baking, other possible responsibilities include ordering supplies, marketing, bookkeeping and complying with food industry regulations.

State Guidelines for Pastry Chefs in New Jersey

Most states do not have a specific license or governing board for baking and pastry chefs, and New Jersey is no exception. Prior to seeking training, a candidate will need a high school diploma or equivalent. Once acquired, advanced training will be needed either through apprenticeship, culinary school or a combination of the two. Since the culinary field is highly competitive, more training will mean more opportunities for work and higher salaries.

Programs for Baking and Pastry Chefs in New Jersey

New Jersey contains a large number of culinary programs within the state. A small selection of these includes:

  • Atlantic Cape Community College offers both a Certificate of Baking and Pastry and an Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry. Students will be prepared to transfer to a four-year institution upon completion if they choose to seek additional education.
  • Rowan College at Burlington County offers a Career Certificate in Cooking and Baking as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts. The certificate promises to prepare students for an entry-level position in commercial baking with education in basic culinary skills, sanitary food handling and basic nutrition. The associate’s degree program builds on a theoretical knowledge base with practical skills. Degree graduates have more opportunity for career advancement than those with a certificate.
  • Hudson County Community College offers an Associate in Applied Science in Culinary Arts with a concentration in Baking and Pastry. Students will be introduced to the basics of culinary arts and progress to more advanced topics as the program continues. Instruction relies greatly on hands-on training with the majority of instruction in the college’s pastry lab.

Certifications for Career Advancement

In a competitive industry, those wishing to advance their career opportunities will wish to seek additional certifications. One popular certification program for chefs of all types is the American Culinary Federation (ACF). The ACF offers a large variety of certifications for baking and pastry chefs based on training, experience and career goals. Candidates will also need to pass an examination.

Career Growth Projections and Salaries

Pastry chefs in New Jersey should expect a higher than average salary according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In fact, New Jersey reports the second highest salaries in the country for chefs, with a median wage of $66,790 in 2018. For contrast, the nationwide median salary in the same year was $48,460.

Job growth rate projections for the industry are also favorable, with a projected 14.9 percent growth for the years 2016 to 2026, which above the national projected rate of 9.6 percent.

Pastry Chef Opportunities in New Jersey

Job opportunities for baking and pastry chefs appear plentiful in the state, especially in the metropolitan areas of Newark and Jersey City, both listed as high employment areas by the BLS. Pastry chefs work in a variety of industries including, food service, hospitality, amusement, hospitals and government.

Some possible employers in New Jersey include Whole Foods Market, Hard Rock International, Topgolf, Select Medical, Whitsons Culinary Group, Wegman’s and Crescent Hotels and Resorts, LLC.

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