Become a Baking and Pastry Chef in West Virginia

If you enjoy baking and trying out new recipes and would not mind working in a fast-paced environment in which you can show off your baking and decorating skills, then you might want to consider a career as a baking and pastry chef. Pastry chefs create baked goods like cakes, donuts, pies and other desserts, breads and baked treats.

The responsibilities of a baking and pastry chef are greater than those of a baker. In addition to making baked goods and decorating them, you may also have to come up with and test new recipes, make a budget, keep up with inventory and order supplies and supervise staff.

Requirements for Becoming a Baking and Pastry Chef in West Virginia

To work as a pastry chef in West Virginia, you don’t have to meet any statewide requirements. The employer will determine hiring requirements, but most employers will want to hire someone who has at least a high school diploma or the equivalent.

You will need to learn specific skills to work as a pastry chef, and there are a few ways that you can do that. You can find an employer who will mentor you and provide on-the-job training. Another option is to start out working in the kitchen and work your way up the ladder to baking and pastry chef. You can also complete a postsecondary educational program.

Educational Training for Pastry Chefs in West Virginia

You don’t have to complete formal training to work as a baking and pastry chef; you can always train on the job once you are hired. However, many people choose to complete a training program offered through a local community college or university. Here are some examples of the programs available in West Virginia:

  • West Virginia Northern Community College. WVNCC gives students the option of earning either a certificate or an associate degree in Culinary Arts. The certificate program can be completed in one year of training and the degree program takes two years to complete. Students are taught through hands-on training in a laboratory setting.
  • Pierpont Community and Technical College. At Piermont, students can earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Food Management with an emphasis on Baking and Pastry Arts. This program consists of 60 credit hours, which include general education classes. This program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation and prepares students to sit for the certification exam.

Certification of Pastry and Baking Chefs

Certification is not required for baking and pastry chefs in West Virginia. But, obtaining certification through the American Culinary Federation (ACF) could boost your chances of getting hired, help you in career advancement or help you to earn more money.

The ACF is the primary agency for culinary certification, offering the following certifications for baking and pastry chefs: pastry cook, pastry culinarian, working pastry chef, executive pastry chef and master pastry chef. If you are interested in getting any of these certifications, you must pass a written and practical exam.

Potential Pay and Job Outlook for Pastry Chefs in West Virginia

According to the Projections Managing Partnership, job growth for chefs and head cooks, which includes baking and pastry chefs, is currently stable. In West Virginia, this career field is predicted to see a 2.8 percent increase in the number of jobs available over the next few years. This is slightly lower than the national average of 9.6 percent for this career field, but it is still an increase.

Data supplied by The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the average annual salary for chefs and head cooks across the U.S. was $48,460 in 2018. Chefs in West Virginia were making an annual average of $54,500 that same year. Depending on how much experience you have, any certifications you have and where you work in the state, you could potentially earn more.

Working as a Baking and Pastry Chef in West Virginia

Baking and pastry chefs work long hours, often standing for long periods. Other skills that baking and pastry chefs should possess include excellent communication skills, organizational and leadership skills, the ability to adapt to change and an eye for detail.

West Virginia has several cities that are known for their culinary presence in the state. These include Charleston, Fayetteville, Greenbrier, Morgantown and Parkersburg. There are several food festivals in the state throughout the year in which you can showcase your talents as well. Among these are The Taste of Parkersburg, the Chocolate Festival in Lewisburg and the Taste of Bridge Day in Fayetteville. Popular venues for baking and pastry chefs to work include hotels, cafes, hospitals, restaurants and bakeries.

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