Baking & Pastry DegreeEven though many people develop cooking and baking skills at home, most restaurants--especially high end restaurants--prefer to hire pastry and baking chefs with formal training. Earning an undergraduate degree (either associate's or bachelor's) provides aspiring cooks and chefs with the theoretical and practical knowledge required to launch a career in culinary arts. Just as important, a degree from a reputable culinary school will provide students the credential they'll need to get their foot in the door with some of America's finest restaurants and bakeries.
Currently, there aren't any schools in the United States that offer master's degree in cooking or culinary arts. A few schools offer bachelor's degree in culinary arts and cooking. However, the vast majority of colleges offer associate degrees. In fact, for many chefs and cooks an associate degree in culinary arts can be considered a terminal degree.
Associate Degree in CulinaryStudents who pursue an associate's degree in culinary arts will take general education courses in liberal arts, mathematics and science. In addition, they'll take elective courses in food preparation, sanitation and cleanliness, kitchen mechanics and principles of cooking. Most associate degree programs in cooking and culinary arts do not have any educational prerequisites other than a high school diploma.
A typical associate degree program in culinary will offer training in American, classical and global cuisines, fish and meat preparation, breakfast cooking, desserts and baked goods. Curriculum and courses vary from school to school, so you'll want to explore your options and find a culinary arts school or community college that focuses on your area of interest. If your primary objective is becoming a pastry chef or cook, you'll want to find a program that focuses on this type of cooking.
Bachelor's Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts ManagementIn addition to tradition baking and pastry programs that focus almost exclusively on cooking, several schools now offer degrees in baking and pastry arts management. If you love baking, but are interested in the business side of the industry, this may be the perfect option. A degree in baking pastry arts management is equal parts culinary education and business training. This degree prepares students for management positions in the culinary world and will even help them develop the skills required to launch and grow their own business down the road. Even though this is a bachelor's degree, it can usually be completed in just a few years, as opposed to the traditional four years required of most bachelor's programs.
What's cool about this degree is that you can often map out your own education plan. There will be core business courses in financial management, marketing, food promotion, psychology and leadership you'll be required to take, but you'll also be able to select a concentration. Within your concentration you'll be able to choose elective courses in baking and pastry, cooking, ingredients and techniques, American cuisine, latin cuisine, and much more.
Educational opportunities for aspiring pastry and baking chefs are now more accessible because of the growth of online training programs. As a result, people working in other industries who've always dreamed of working as pastry chefs can complete a training program without making major alterations to their current lifestyle. Some online programs are not as comprehensive as their campus-based counterparts, so you'll want to do your due diligence before decide to pursue a cooking degree online.
Below you can explore pastry chef and baking associate and certificate programs that can be completed online or at a campus location in your area.
Baking & Pastry Degree Programs
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