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Degree Overview: Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts

Majors Overview September 21, 2014

Those that are skilled in creating delicate desserts and working in kitchens should look into a career in pastry arts or baking. Students in bachelor’s degree programs in baking and pastry arts will be prepared for jobs in grocery stores, bakeries, and restaurants.

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree Programs in Baking and Pastry Arts

Students enrolled in a terminal bachelor’s degree program in baking and pastry arts are provided with a strong background in food preparation. Students will become proficient in the creation of confections, such as pastry, desserts, and specialty breads, among others. They are also imparted strong management and interpersonal communication skills. A senior project or internship is incorporated in many programs, which is aimed at gauging knowledge.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an associate’s degree in baking and pastry arts, and many completed courses are transferable into a bachelor’s degree program.


Coursework focuses on general kitchen operation skills and business principles. Students are taught about preparing particular types of breads and pastries and decorating delicacies such as cakes, among others. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Baking principles
•Cost control
•Menu development
•Food science
•Wine studies

Career Choices

Those that successfully complete baking and pastry arts bachelor’s degree programs may seek occupations in different eating establishments, such as pastry shops, bakeries, and high-end restaurants. Applicants may seek entry-level jobs as food preparation workers or assistants. Degree program graduates can seek numerous other occupations including:

•Restaurateur or business owner
•Culinary educator
•Executive chef
•Food writer

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 5% has been predicted for head cooks and chefs over the 2012 – 2022 decade (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In 2012, chefs and head cooks earned an average annual wage of $42,480. A 6% job growth rate over the same period has been predicted for bakers, who took home an average annual wage of $23,140 (BLS).

Certification Choices

Employers don’t expect candidates to hold professional certification; however, a professional credential could give the applicant a competitive edge over other job applicants. The American Culinary Federation (ACF) offers several levels of certification to baking and pastry professionals. Passage of the ACF’s written exams and practice of a set number of years as pastry culinarians can help them obtain the Certified Pastry Culinarian credential. Additional experience can help them obtain other ACF credentials, such as Certified Master Pastry Chef, Certified Executive Pastry Chef, and Certified Working Pastry Chef.

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