Should I Become a Cake Artist?
Cake artists bake and decorate cakes in commercial and retail bakeries, restaurants, hotels, or for catering businesses. They oversee other workers, order supplies, and clean their workstations. With experience, bakers are able to start their own businesses, which can be stressful due to working nights and weekends, standing for extended periods of time, and lifting at least 45 pounds. In addition, bakers have an elevated risk of job-related injuries such as burns, cuts, and health issues caused by heavy lifting.
|Degree Level||None; formal training helpful for advancement|
|Degree Field||Pastry arts, baking, or related field|
|Key Skills||Attention to detail; good communication, critical thinking, and artistic skills; ability to work independently and use cooking machinery|
|Salary||$29,497 (2016 median for cake decorators)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine, Careerbuilder.com job postings in October 2012, Triton College, Payscale.com
No degree is required to become a cake decorate, but formal training pastry arts or baking is helpful for advancement. Additionally, training on-the-job is common and voluntary certification is available. Cake decorators should be able to use cooking machinery. They should also be artistic and independent as well as have attention to detail and good communication skills. According to 2016 data compiled by Payscale.com, the median salary for cake decorators was $29,497.
Steps to Become a Cake Artist
Step 1: Complete a Baking or Pastry Arts Program
Students can find pastry arts or baking programs at community and technical colleges. These types of programs award either an associates degree or certificate, and take two years or less to complete. Completing a certificate or degree program in pastry arts or a related area of study is beneficial for job advancement since some employers prefer to hire formally trained candidates.
Pastry arts programs include kitchen and food safety and sanitation courses. Students are given the opportunity to take part in field experiences while enrolled in their program. This allows students the chance to gain hands-on experience in a commercial bakery setting prior to entering the workplace. Pastry arts programs expose students to a wide variety of pastries and desserts, such as cakes, tortes, custards and pies. For students interested in owning their own bakeries, programs include business courses in management, development and various software applications.
Since cake artists need to communicate with staff and coordinate activities in a busy environment, the ability to communicate well is important. Consider taking communications courses to improve verbal and written skills.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
After finishing a formal training program, students can apply for entry-level positions in the field. Although there are no formal work experience requirements for employment as a cake artist or pastry chef, many employers prefer candidates who have several years of experience. In general, training as a cake artist or baker continues throughout one’s career.
Step 3: Get Certified
Voluntary certification shows a potential employer a candidate’s level of skill and expertise in the field. Certifications are available through nonprofit organizations, such as the Retail Bakers of America, and entail passing either a written or practical exam or both. In order to qualify for certification exams, a student needs to fulfill minimum work experience and educational requirements such as the completion of an approved sanitation course. Certification designations are available through the Retail Bakers of America. Bakers can receive the Certified Decorator certification, if they meet the work experience and educational requirements.
There is no education required to become a cake decorator, though training and/or a certificate or an associate’s degree in pastry arts or a related field might be required.