Most career colleges that offer culinary arts degrees also offer baking and pastry programs. Learning this subset of culinary skills prepares students to be artisan bakers, dessert makers for restaurants and hotels, and caterers. Gifted baking and pastry culinary students may even go on to careers as chocolatiers or wedding cake designers.

Different schools offer different types of baking and pastry degrees. It’s possible for students to earn a baking and pastry certificate, an associate degree, or even a bachelor’s degree. Generally, a baking and pastry program will be composed of several core elements as well as some electives. Here are the core classes found in the majority of these programs:

Food Safety and Sanitation

Anyone who wants a culinary career needs to understand food safety and sanitation. This will be one of the first classes students should take in any culinary program to learn how to safely handle food. In order to keep people who eat your cooking from becoming ill, learning the ways in which food becomes contaminated with bacteria like E. coli is absolutely essential.

Food Preparation

A lot of behind-the-scenes preparation must happen for any kitchen to run smoothly. A culinary course in food preparation teaches the fundamentals of knife work. Students also learn how to quickly and expertly set up ingredients and how to assemble basic meals like salads.

Baking and Pastry Principles

Core baking and pastry classes cover how to make all the basic bread types and different kinds of pastries. Students learn fundamental recipes as building blocks and then go on to to create their own recipes from what they know about how ingredients and quantities work together.


The goal of a desserts course is to teach baking and pastry students how to make all the standard desserts we know and love, from chocolate mousse to apple pie. More advanced dessert courses may involve caramelizing fruit, flambé, and a healthy amount of student experimentation.

Nutritional Baking and Pastry

The only drawback to a baking and pastry career is that many of your sinfully delicious creations will bad for people’s health. A nutritional baking class will help students learn about the nutritional qualities of ingredients and how to make appropriate and healthy substitutes. Since so many people have dietary restrictions, students should also learn the basics of low-fat desserts, sugar-free desserts, and gluten-free baking.

Chocolate and Confection

In a good baking and pastry program, students will learn how to make showpiece desserts like decadent chocolate fountains and sugar sculptures. Often, basic candy-making is also covered.

Cake Decorating

Cake decorating requires both hand-eye coordination and design skills. In a cake decorating class, students learn everything from lettering and frosting flowers to sophisticated wedding cake design.

General Education Classes

Associate degree and bachelor’s degree programs require students to take some general education courses to fulfill accreditation requirements. The great thing about attending a culinary school is that the educational focus will be hands-on training, and general education classes like English and American government will be kept to a minimum. In addition, general education requirements like math are often tailored to suit the needs of future bakers by focusing on topics like recipe calculation and kitchen budgeting.

There are many career colleges that offer Culinary courses. If you’re working full-time and are would like to enroll in an Culinary program visit the Culinary Schools directory to get more information from these schools.