If you’ve always had a passion for baking, the best colleges with baking & pastry arts degrees can turn your passion into a career. Some highly competitive programs across the United States offer diverse courses with engaged, hands-on learning. Whether you want to open your own bakery or work alongside a pastry chef, these five schools are some of the best.
Each of these schools meets the following criteria:
- An average annual cost of no more than $15,000
- A median starting salary no lower than $36,000
- Accredited programs by recognized bodies
5 Best Colleges With Baking & Pastry Arts Degrees
1. Bellingham Technical College
4 Year; Bellingham, WA
Average Annual Cost: $1,893
Bellingham Technical College has developed a nation-renowned program ideal for students passionate about food and pastry. It is one of the best colleges with baking & pastry arts degrees. Its programs are perfect for getting your foot in the door of the fast-growing food industry. During your time in your courses, you’ll learn from award-winning teaching staff to refine your skills.
Students will find they will learn the fundamentals for working in hospitals, bakeries, pastry shops, catering companies, etc. It’s a well-rounded education that focuses primarily on the hands-on aspects of baking and theoretical, academic skills. Currently, the school offers four different programs to consider, including an AAS in Culinary Arts, an AAS-T in Culinary Arts, a Certificate in Culinary Arts, and a Certificate in Pastry Arts.
With an Associate of Applied Science or Certificates, you can move on to a four-year university after completing your coursework at Bellingham Technical College. However, many employment options exist for students with an AAS or Certificate. These programs can be quite helpful for existing professional pastry chefs looking to refine their skills.
2. Collin County Community College District
2-4 Year; McKinney, TX
Average Annual Cost: $7,040
Collin County Community College District is a great option if you’re searching for a broad understanding of the world of baking and pastry arts. Their pastry arts program is fantastic for giving students the pastry foundation skills needed to work in commercial bakeshops. Additionally, you’ll refine your general food preparation skills, helping build your employability.
The program at Collin County Community College District has been fully accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation, speaking to its quality. There are three different program options to consider when entering the world of pastry arts at this college, including an AAS in Pastry Arts, a Certificate (Level 1) in Pastry Arts, and a Certificate (Level 3) in Advanced Pastry Arts
With the AAS in Pastry Arts, you can learn the fundamental skills for becoming a professional pastry chef. After completing the Collin County Community College District program, you can move on to a four-year degree program. This pathway will give you a bachelor’s degree in your desired field.
There are plenty of baking-related courses students will be expected to take in this learning pathway, including Nutrition and Menu Planning; Fundamentals of Baking; Pies, Tarts, Teacakes, and Cookies; Bread and Rolls; Contemporary Mathematics; Cake Decorating; Chocolates and Confections; and Business and Professional Communication.
3. San Jacinto Community College
2-4 Year; Pasadena, TX
Average Annual Cost: $9,638
San Jacinto Community College offers a diverse program for students pursuing their dream careers as pastry chefs. This program is designed to help students work in fast-paced environments, from restaurants to personal chef backgrounds. With this program, you’ll have a multidisciplinary approach to baking, focusing on many fantastic elements.
Students enrolled in the pastry chef program will experience a combination of guest lectures, labs, field trips, job placements, and networking opportunities. You’ll also learn from some of the state’s more notable chefs as your faculty members. Additionally, students will get the fundamental hands-on education needed to work in gourmet bakeries and fine-dining restaurants. Upon graduation, many students pursue careers as executive pastry chefs, cruise line pastry chefs, cake decorators, and more. You’ll learn the essential skills to work under a seasoned chef or open your own establishment. San Jacinto Community College’s pastry chef program is ideal for all learners.
4. Waukesha County Technical College
2-4 Year; Pewaukee, WI
Average Annual Cost: $9,749
Uniquely, Waukesha County Technical College has multiple options for students interested in pursuing a career as a pastry chef. First, they have the standard baking/pastry learning pathway that awards a nine-credit technical certificate. Alternatively, other related programs include such courses as Baking and Pastry Management, Baking and Pastry Production, and Culinary Skills.
Depending on the specialty/program you choose, the courses you’ll take will differ considerably. However, there are a few standard baking-related courses you can expect to take, including Applied Food Service Sanitation, Fundamentals of Baking, Science of Baking Principles, Cake Production and Decorating, and Pies, Tarts, and Confections.
When enrolled in the baking programs at Waukesha County Technical College, you’ll have all the essentials to build your future career. Students will explore the scientific concepts of baking paired with refining their techniques for cake design. It’s also a basic course for first-time learners, helping to give you basic baking principles to put to good use. Students are sure to try their hands at a wide variety of different baking methods using various recipes. You can expect to bake an assortment of pastries, rolls, bread, cakes, confections, candies, and truffles.
5. National Louis University
4 Year; Chicago, IL
Average Annual Cost: $14,584
The baking program at National Louis University is offered through the Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management. It’s a phenomenal program designed to help students understand the concepts of working with fantastic delicacies. Each course is taught by state-renowned staff, offering optimal mentorship for all students. Fortunately, there are two degree and certificate programs students can consider. Many options are available if you want to pursue a future bachelor’s degree or add to your existing education. Additionally, some programs are ideal for working professionals looking to create a more competitive resume.
The programs available from National Louis University for pastry arts and baking include an AAS in Baking and Pastry (Accelerated or Non-Accelerated) and a Baking and Pastry Certificate.
Most students opt for the AAS in Baking and Pastry, which offers classroom and kitchen instruction. It’s also a studying pathway that can be completed within two years, depending on if you opt for accelerated or non-accelerated learning. Students work through various concepts in this program, from baking bread to blowing sugar.