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Donuts don't grow on trees. As much as we might wish they reproduced like apples, the sad truth is they do not. But thankfully there are bakers, dedicated individuals who rise in the middle of the night to ensure we all have our morning breads and pastries.

Bakers do more than just make donuts. They are responsible for producing breads, cakes, pastries, bagels, squares, and pies. They decorate cakes and pastries, as well. They work in small specialty shops, huge industrial kitchens, on cruise ships and in supermarkets, not to mention donut shops.

Bakers have a passion for food. It's a very important part of the job, that passion, considering the long, hot hours spent in the kitchen preparing delicacies they won't actually get to eat. Bakers normally start work at 4 or 5 in the morning, especially the senior bakers. Other bakers may start later in the day, and work longer into the afternoon or the evening.

Bakers who run their own business are often responsible for maintaining not only the creative elements of the job, but also the administrative elements. They may have to hire and train new staff, draw up schedules and purchase supplies. They also need to market and advertise their goods and services.

Accomplished bakers are as comfortable with giant bread ovens as they are with delicate pastry flour. They are artists in the kitchen, creating something beautiful from flour, eggs, and water. They make edible sugar sculptures, hearty, delicious breads, and moist, chewy bagels. They are often the only reason some of us get up on Saturday mornings, as we sit on sunny patios sipping coffee and savoring croissants, while the bakers toil away indoors, lovingly preparing new delicacies for us to enjoy at lunch.
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Institute of Culinary Education - Los Angeles
  • Named a Culinary School of Excellence by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 2015.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
Programs Offered:
  • Pastry & Baking Arts
  • Health-Supportive Culinary Arts
  • Culinary Arts
  • And more...



  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Bakers need to be good communicators who are comfortable working in a team, and follow verbal and written directions well. They should be creative, artistic, and inventive risk-takers. They should also be "morning people". Good eyesight and hand-eye coordination are assets, as are strength and stamina. They should have some mechanical aptitude, some interest in chemistry, and an openness to other cultures and culinary traditions. They should work well under pressure, and be well-groomed.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Create and follow recipes
  • Knead, roll and shape dough
  • Put items into a hot oven
  • Monitor baking process
  • Cool baked goods safely
  • Decorate, price, and display items
  • Clean and maintain equipment and machinery
  • Custom-make cakes, pies, and orders
  • May serve customers
  • May deliver goods
  • Look after any administrative duties that may arise
  • The typical day for a baker involves a lot of time spent mixing dough using a variety of tools, from measuring spoons to huge mechanical mixers. They also spend time consulting with supervisors and clients about rush orders, special orders, and dietary restrictions. They may spend time working with other bakers inventing and perfecting recipes. They don't ever work outdoors, and only travel on deliveries or if they are visiting other bakeries around the world to learn new techniques.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Bakers work in loud, hot, and stuffy kitchens, often beginning work in the middle of the night. They may work in large industrial kitchens with many other bakers and assistants, or in smaller kitchens alone or with one or two coworkers. They may also work the front desk of a bakery and assist with the delivery of goods. They are self-employed, or work for an independent baker, for a supermarket, restaurant, hotel, resort, or cruise line.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Bakers can advance to supervisory positions, or open their own shop. They can specialize in high-end baked goods, sugar/wheat/yeast-free products, work in large bakery labs and testing departments, or get into sales for major bakery chains.

  Educational Paths  
There are a number of routes to take if you are interested in working as a baker. Many bakers choose to start out as apprentices. This means finding an experienced baker who will serve as a mentor, as well as completing some in-class training, followed by a certification test at the end. This route takes two to three years to complete.

Another option is to complete a course in baking or culinary arts, offered at most community colleges. These courses can take one to four years to complete. Some bakers complete both options -- they obtain a diploma and then apprentice under a baker. This ensures they have skills before going into the on-the-job training, plus makes them extremely desirable to bakeries, as they have proven a serious drive and love of the industry.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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Institute of Culinary Education - Los Angeles
  • Named a Culinary School of Excellence by the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) in 2015.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
Programs Offered:
  • Pastry & Baking Arts
  • Health-Supportive Culinary Arts
  • Culinary Arts
  • And more...

Institute of Technology

You can get started on a new career with Institute of Technology.

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website at www.iot.edu/disclosure

Programs Offered:
  • Culinary Arts Diploma

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