Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in Pennsylvania
If you love to bake and you’re looking for a challenging career in a rapidly growing industry, consider becoming a baking and pastry chef. When you work in this role, you’ll create many different baked goods including cakes, pies, donuts, breads, cupcakes and more.
Your job duties as a pastry chef will go beyond those of a baker. Besides spending a big part of your time preparing and decorating delicious desserts and other baked goods, you may also create or adjust recipes, make a budget, order supplies and supervise, train or coordinate staff.
Requirements for Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in Pennsylvania
You might be able to learn the skills you need on the job or through a mentorship program working under an experienced pastry chef. While post-secondary education isn’t required to become a chef in Pennsylvania, you can learn valuable skills by attending formal baking and pastry arts training. Most of these programs require a high school diploma or the equivalent to enroll.
Formal Training of Pastry Chefs in Pennsylvania
Formal training of pastry chefs in Pennsylvania can be found at community colleges, four-year colleges, vocational schools and culinary schools. In these settings you’ll learn to bake breads, create and decorate desserts and learn business and management skills. Some training programs in include:
- Pennsylvania College of Technology. Located in Williamsport, PA, this college offers an Associate in Science degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. Students obtain advanced training in state-of-the-art facilities, and through classroom and hands-on training learn to make artisan breads, pastries, specialty and decorated cakes and other baked goods. Training is also provided in retail baking operations, grand pastry display and product development.
- Montgomery County Community College. Students can earn a Baking and Pastry degree upon completing 69-70 credit hours at this college located in Lansdale, PA. Hands-on and classroom training are combined, providing an education in baking breads, preparing tiered cakes, confections and more. Students also learn management, sanitation, menu planning and cost control.
Licensing or Certification of Pastry and Baking Chefs in Pennsylvania
Licensing or certification is not required to become a baking pastry chef in Pennsylvania. There are optional certifications available through the American Culinary Federation, which can be obtained by passing both written and practical exams. Several levels of certification are available as you gain more experience.
Potential Pay and Job Outlook for Pastry Chefs in Pennsylvania
As a pastry chef, you’ll be a highly skilled professional and you’ll be considered a type of head chef. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2018, head chefs earned a median annual income of $48,460. The amount you’re able to earn can be affected by where you live and what type of business you work for. Hotels and upscale restaurants are among the settings that pay top wages.
In Pennsylvania, salary for pastry chefs ranges between $46,448 and $76,427, and the average salary as of November 2019 was $53,637 according to Salary.com. Job growth for head chefs in this state is expected to be steady over the next decade. CareerOneStop projects growth of 9 percent between 2016 and 2026.
Working as a Pastry Chef in Pennsylvania
Across the entire state of Pennsylvania, the skills of pastry chefs are valued in many different settings, especially in large cities such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Allentown. Some settings where you might find employment include restaurants, catering companies, hospitals, healthcare facilities, bakeries and cafes. Some pastry chefs become entrepreneurs and start a café or bakery using their specialized training in the field.
In just about all these environments, your job will be varied and fast-paced. The hours worked may be unpredictable and are likely to include early mornings, weekends and evenings. For those who love to bake, there’s probably no better way to make a living than by becoming a baking and pastry chef.