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Factors to Consider When Selecting a Pastry Arts School

Higher Education Articles October 13, 2014

The industry of culinary arts features the pastry arts specialization. The skills used to make pastries, specialty desserts, and baked goods are taught to students in bachelor’s degree programs in pastry arts. Coursework in bakery and business management are usually incorporated within these programs. Some U.S. culinary schools do offer bachelor’s degree programs in pastry and baking arts, but associate’s degree and certificate programs are more common.

Selecting a Pastry Arts School

Students at the bachelor’s degree level may opt for a culinary arts major with an emphasis in baking and pastries, may participate in a joint major with a combination of food service management with pastry arts, or major specifically in baking and pastry arts. Culinary institutes and four-year universities and colleges offer these programs through their culinary arts departments.

In this article, we take a look at some important factors to consider when you choose a pastry arts school:

Skills Taught

Students enrolled in pastry arts degree programs are taught baking design, creation, and presentation, in addition to hospitality and business functions. A broad array of experiences is covered in some programs; these include working with different kinds of desserts and pastry goods. Some programs focus on basic skills and production.

Quality of Hands-on Instruction

The school you choose must have modern kitchen equipment and facilities. Many culinary arts and pastry arts programs are conducted in on-campus bakeries and restaurants where students can gain hands-on experience. “Study abroad” opportunities where students are taught international pastry techniques are included in some programs.

Professional Certification

While a regional accrediting agency’s accreditation is typically offered, students who wish to obtain the Certified Pastry Culinarian (CPC) credential must attend a school that carries accreditation by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation Accrediting Commission. The certification can be obtained through passage of an exam and satisfaction of the American Culinary Federation’s education and experience requirements.

Bachelor’s Programs in Pastry Arts

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs in Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Service Management

The Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Baking and Pastry Arts and Food Service Management is a combination degree program that typically includes various classes in baking techniques. Students are also taught business aspects. “Study abroad” opportunities or pastry art internships may also be included. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Wedding cakes
•Supervision in the food service industry
•Decorative toppings
•Creating pastries
•Finance

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs in Baking and Pastry Arts

Students who already hold associate’s degrees in the field would benefit through enrollment in a baking and pastry arts major offered by some schools as a bachelor’s degree program. The degree is also offered by some schools as a Bachelor of Professional Studies (B.P.S.).

Students are taught the rudiments of baking to augment general education classes during the first two years of a four-year degree program. The curriculum includes supervised labs and management classes, in addition to an internship. During the junior and senior years, core coursework typically covers specific pastry-making techniques, such as:

•Tiered cakes
•Advanced breads
•Tortes
•Petits gâteaux
•Chocolate confections

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)/Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Programs in Culinary Arts with a Baking and Pastry Track

Students enrolled in this kind of program complete general culinary arts coursework aimed at teaching them about creating and preparing numerous types of foods. The program may allow for specialization in pastry arts or use of elective credits to enroll in additional pastry classes. Classroom instruction is imparted in topic areas such as:

•Nutrition
•History of cuisine
•Candies
•Specialty desserts
•Food chemistry

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