Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in South Carolina

Do you enjoy baking tasty treats for family and friends and want to take your talents to the next level? Do you think you have what it takes to work in a fast-paced environment and keep things running smoothly? If so, you might consider a career as a pastry chef.

Baking and pastry chefs use their culinary knowledge to make the things we all love to eat, but a career as a pastry chef is about much more than baking. As a chef, you would also be required to have the knowledge and skills to keep a business running. This can include managing staff, regulating compliance, meeting orders, purchasing supplies and keeping financials balanced. Chefs spend many hours on their feet in a time-pressured environment and often work late evenings, weekends and early mornings.

Specific Guidelines for Pastry Chefs in South Carolina

South Carolina does not offer licensing for baking and pastry chefs and has no official oversight for the field. Training is required for employment and can be obtained either on the job, through apprenticeship or through an accredited training program. Many chefs choose to complete both a training program and additional apprenticeships in specific areas or with particular chefs. A high school diploma or equivalent is a prerequisite for most training programs.

South Carolina Training programs for Pastry Chefs

South Carolina has many programs for those interested in becoming pastry chefs. A small selection of them includes:

  • Trident Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Charleston in Charleston offers both a Certificate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry and an Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts. Students will study both the theory and practical applications of baking and will be ready to enter the workforce upon graduation.
  • Horry Georgetown Technical College in Myrtle Beach offers an Associate in Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts at their Grand Strand campus. The program is designed to provide students with the skills and knowledge to find success in the industry, with courses in both baking and business.
  • Bob Jones University in Greenville offers an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts. While not specifically a pastry program, students will learn the foundations of culinary science along with important business management skills.

Baking and Pastry Chef Certifications

Chefs face a competitive market and will need to find ways to stand out in the crowd. Acquiring certifications is one way to open opportunities and advance your career. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers a variety of certifications for pastry chefs based on education, experience and the ability to pass examinations.

Salary and Career Growth Projections

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), baking and pastry chefs made a median wage of $42,770 in 2018, slightly below the national median of $48,460. The job growth projections in the state, however, look highly positive with predicted growth of 20.9 percent between the years 2016 and 2026, which is well above the national projected growth rate of 9.6 percent for this field. All in all, pastry chefs in South Carolina appear to have good opportunities for employment and career advancement.

South Carolina Career Prospects

Baking and pastry chefs work in a variety of environments, some of which include the hospitality industry, hospitals, private corporations and restaurants. According to BLS, the highest paying industries for chefs are performing arts companies, scenic and sightseeing companies and the federal executive branch.

South Carolina boasts the third largest concentration of chefs nationwide, with Florence, Greenville and Charleston listed as top areas for jobs. Some possible employers in South Carolina include AVI Foodsystems, Kiawah Development Partners, Hyatt, Marriot, Atria Senior Living and Pyramid Hotel Group.

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