Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in New Mexico

Did you ever wish you could make a living creating delicious and attractive desserts and other baked goods here in New Mexico? If you have a passion for baking, becoming a baking and pastry chef may be the right career choice for you. Not only will you be able to spend your days preparing a wide variety of items such as pastries, cakes, cookies, pies and breads, but your tasks will go beyond baking. You’ll also be in charge of monitoring food sanitation and safety standards, purchasing and organizing supplies, supervising staff and developing new recipes.

What’s Required to Become a New Mexico Pastry Chef?

A high school diploma or the equivalent is the first thing you’ll need to start on this career path. This is required by most employers and is also required for admission into formal training programs. While postsecondary education isn’t a requirement to become a pastry chef, if you do pursue advanced education in the field, you’ll acquire valuable skills that will make you more appealing to potential employers.

Training to Become a New Mexico Baking and Pastry Chef

Formal training programs in culinary arts or pastry arts are offered at community colleges, vocational schools and specialized cooking schools. In these programs, you’ll learn basic food preparation skills, and you’ll build on this knowledge to learn more advanced techniques. You’ll also learn business and management skills. Some places that offer training in this field in New Mexico include:

  • Central New Mexico Community College. This college offers an Associate in Applied Science degree in Culinary Arts, Advanced Baking and Pastry Concentration. Students learn equipment use, dining room skills, preparation of pastries and other baked goods, sanitation, safety, business practices and supervisory skills. Students are well-prepared to pass the certification exam through the American Culinary Federation.
  • Navajo Technical University. Located in Crownpoint, NM, this university offers a degree in Professional Baking, which can be completed in four semesters. Students learn advanced baking skills including preparing breads, pastries and cakes as well as cake decorating. Advanced techniques are also taught such as design requirements for formal settings such as fine dining establishments. The program also includes training in management and supervision and a professional internship.

New Mexico Pastry Chef Licensing and Certification

In New Mexico, you don’t need to obtain a license or certification to work as a pastry and baking chef. The American Culinary Federation offers several levels of certification for pastry chefs. This certification is completely optional but can help you to stand out among other candidates for job opportunities. You’ll need to pass both practical and written exams to become certified. As you gain more experience, you can obtain even more advanced certification such as Certified Executive Pastry Chef or Certified Master Pastry Chef.

Potential Salary and Job Outlook for Pastry Chefs in New Mexico

A baking and pastry chef is a form of head chef, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that as of May 2018, the median pay for head chefs in the United States was $48,460. In New Mexico, the average salary for pastry chefs was $49,123 as of November 2019, according to Annual pay in this state for pastry chefs ranges between $42,539 and $69,994.

Job growth in New Mexico for head chefs is predicted to be approximately 8 percent between 2016 and 2026, according to CareerOneStop.

Work as a Baking and Pastry Chef in the State of New Mexico

When you work as a pastry chef in New Mexico you’ll find that the hours may not be predictable. You might have to plan to prepare baked items early in the morning, and in most settings you’ll work evenings and weekends, not just weekdays. It will probably be a fast-paced job, and you may have to be on your feet a large part of the day.

There are many places that can use the expertise of baking and pastry chefs in New Mexico, especially in large cities such as Albuquerque and Las Cruces. Examples of places that hire pastry chefs include grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, cafes and healthcare facilities.

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