pastry-chef
How to Become a

Pastry Chef

The complete career guide to be a Pastry Chef: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $26,270
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Pastry chefs are masters of the art of making desserts. They create unique cookies, cakes, pies, bread items, doughnuts, and other desserts found in restaurants and bakeries. They may operate their own bakeries or shops, or they may work for restaurants, hotels, or groceries, creating pastries for guests.


What is a Pastry Chef?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in pastry chef roles:

  • Create traditional and new cookies, pies, cakes, pastries, candies, doughnuts, and other baked goods and dessert items
  • Create menus, design recipes for menu items, and train staff on how to properly prepare menu items
  • Manage a staff of pastry cooks, create work schedules for staff, and conduct initial and ongoing staff training

A Day in the Life

Pastry chefs are welcomed by most because their job is to delight people with delicious desserts. They create and bake many different types of desserts and pastries: cakes, turnovers, cupcakes, pies, cookies, brownies, candies, croissants, breads, and more. Additionally, many pastry chefs are artists as well, creating intricate and delicate decorations to top the items they create. For example, some pastry chefs bake intricate wedding cakes that are designed to fit the specific colors and theme of a wedding.

In addition to making pastries, pastry chefs also usually have a lot of administrative duties. They may manage a set of employees, and they’re responsible for training, supervising, and creating work schedules for those employees. They also create dessert menus and design the recipes that appear on those menus. In some cases, the recipes used may be popular, traditional pastries, but in other cases, the pastry chef designs unique and original items that become his/her own signature pastries.

Pastry chefs can work in a variety of venues—bakeries, doughnut shops, restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, or grocery stores—but many pastry chefs opt to open their own stores to sell pastries. These pastry chefs are experts at creating pastries as well as adept business people, as running a shop requires attention to more than just food. Pastry shop owners are responsible for shop budgets, ordering, hiring, marketing, and other tasks, though they may hire a team of individuals to handle some of these tasks.

Typical Work Schedule

Pastry chef roles—depending on the employer—may work part-time, full-time, and even overtime. They may be required to work any shift. For example, pastry chefs that work in doughnut shops may have to start work very early in the morning in order to have pastries ready when customers arrive for breakfast.

Typical Employers

Pastry chefs are employed by a variety of venues. Bakeries, doughnut shops, coffee shops, grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels are some of the more common employers. Additionally, many pastry chefs opt to run their own business and operate a storefront, or partner with a catering company.


How To Become a Pastry Chef

Most pastry chefs attend culinary school where they learn about general food service topics as well as specialize in designing and creating pastries. Some may focus on learning about all types of pastries, while others choose to focus on a specific type or set of pastries. For example, aspiring bakers may focus coursework on topics related to bread and bakery items.

However, while a culinary degree is helpful in finding employment as a pastry chef more quickly, it is not an absolute requirement for finding work as a pastry chef. For pastry chefs, talent is often more important than degrees or experience. Some individuals train themselves how to cook pastries at home and are able to go on to become pastry chefs. Others start in entry-level positions at bakeries and other shops and train to become pastry chefs under other experienced pastry chefs.

In the end, if you’re able to create delectable pastries that look as good as they taste, you shouldn’t have trouble finding work as a pastry chef—with or without a degree. Even for upscale, high-paying roles in five-star hotels and fine dining establishments, reputation and talent speak volumes more than evidence of a culinary degree. However, if you’re unable to train yourself, want professional training, or cannot find an experienced pastry chef to train you, culinary school can be a great place to learn the tools of the trade and get a head start on your career.


Pastry Chef Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range

$19,960

Average

$26,270

High Range

$38,400

National Hourly Wage

Low Range

$10/hr

Average

$13/hr

High Range

$18/hr

How do Pastry Chef salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Pastry Chef's can make an average annual salary of $26,270, or $13 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $19,960 or $10 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #756 Nationally for All Careers


Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Pastry Chef. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.


Highest Education Among Pastry Chefs

  • 0.4%   Doctorate
  • 1.4%   Masters
  • 8.6%   Bachelors
  • 7.7%   Associates
  • 20.1%   College
  • 36.7%   High School
  • 25.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs

185,300

2024 Est. Jobs

198,300

Job Growth Rate

7%

Est. New Jobs

13,000

How does Pastry Chef job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 13,000 jobs for a total of 198,300 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #316 Nationally for All Careers


What Companies Employ The Most Pastry Chefs

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing 51,200 -800 -1%
Grocery stores 47,800 2,200 2%
Self-employed workers 10,300 2,200 2%

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