So you’re wondering how to become a baker, huh? I will tell you the easiest way to do it – start baking. The more practice you get at home, the more experience you’ll have when it comes to stepping up to the professional level.
If you’re thinking about becoming a professional baker rather than a home baker, there are multiple options. Most bakeries have an apprenticeship program or simply train on the job. You can also opt for culinary school or a trade school and go from there.
Hey, there! My name is Michelle and I’m a home baker. That said, I am entirely self-taught. If you’re considering being a home baker, simply head to your kitchen and get to work. If you’re looking for professional baking, though, I researched and put together this handy article for you.
Are you ready to become a baker?
How to Become a Baker
If you’re planning to be a home baker, then you don’t need to worry about doing anything “special”. You can simply find some great recipes, head to your kitchen, and get to work. But if you want to be a professional baker, here are some key steps and advice.
Get Your High School Diploma or GED
The first step is to finish high school or get your GED. Why is this important? Well, whether you’re going for on the job training or a culinary/pastry school, they’re likely going to want to see that you’ve finished high school successfully.
If you really want to get ahead in the culinary biz, you can attend culinary school. Culinary education can be found in various institutions including community colleges, 4-year colleges, and technical schools. There are also specialty independent culinary art institutes you can attend.
If you’re thinking about attending culinary school, it’s important to search for programs that will suit your specific needs. For example, a technical school may offer a 12-month program that provides plenty of information from baking to sanitation to nutrition.
On the other hand, a 2-year program will provide you with an associate’s degree on top of valuable information like those listed above. They may also provide you with an externship program to get your foot in the door.
Still, some culinary schools offer online courses. While this may not provide you with the hands-on experience you’ll need as a baker, you will have a certification or degree proving that you understand the basics and more complex parts of baking.
Note: culinary school is entirely optional for becoming a baker, so don’t think you have to sign up for a student loan or your dreams will be crushed. Culinary school will simply provide the future baker with vast knowledge of baking and other relatable categories.
Get a Job
As mentioned previously, you don’t have to go to school to be a baker. The easier (and cheaper) option is to simply apply to be an apprentice or baker’s assistant.
As an apprentice or baker’s assistant, you will work directly under a professional baker. They will teach you all of the skills necessary for baking, which includes sanitation, food safety, and of course, baking techniques.
On the job training isn’t quick, though. Most of the time, you will need to work under a professional baker for at least three years before stepping out into the world as an actual “baker”.
There is truly nothing like hands-on experience, though – while getting paid for it.
Narrow Down Your Job
During your three year adventure as an apprentice (or your time at culinary school), you might find yourself fond of baking certain items over another. For example, you might be keen on baking pies but can’t stand baking bread.
The fun part about becoming a baker is that you can choose to work in a bakery making just about anything, or you can narrow it down and specialize in a specific skill. For those that love baking cupcakes, consider a cupcake shop. If you love to make cakes, open a cake shop of your own.
The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to baking, and your future is entirely up to you.
Don’t Forget Certifications
If you really want to “wow” future employers or clients considering your business, don’t forget to get your certifications. Certifications are offered by the Retail Bakers of America. There are four certifications available, including:
- Journey Baker – To earn this certification, you need at least one year of experience as a baker
- Baker – This certificate is available after four years of experience and completion of a 30-hour sanitation course.
- Decorator – This is a more specific certificate and requires four years of decorating experience
- Master Baker – For this certificate, you will need to obtain three parts. For one, you need at least eight years of total experience. You will also need a 30-hour professional training course and 30-hour sanitation course under your belt.
Practice makes perfect, and this could not be truer for bakers. The more you bake, the better you will get at it. Over time, you will also be able to add your own twists and spins on recipes to create something new, exciting, and delicious.
Becoming a baker is as easy as applying for a local apprenticeship at a bakery, retail store, specialty shop, or anywhere else there’s baking opportunities. If you still have some questions about how to become a baker, read through these frequently asked questions.
What qualifications do you need to be a baker?
Really, all you need to get started as a baker is a high school diploma or GED and a passion for baking. Then, you can apply for an apprenticeship or assistant baker job. You can also opt to go to culinary school to get certified before applying or specializing.
Can you make a living as a baker?
Yes, you can make a good living wage as a baker. This is especially true the more experience you have. If you open up your own shop, whether it’s at home or in a building, you can potentially make even more money.
Is baking a good career?
Baking is a good career if you enjoy baking. You don’t even have to like all areas of baking. You can specialize in what you enjoy and are good at, such as baking and decorating cakes or baking bread. There are plenty of options and potential for growth, making it a long and viable career path.
Is it hard being a baker?
It can be challenging, yes, and it is hard work. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is the schedule, though. Most baking jobs will have you up at odd hours of the night and early in the morning. The good news is, you will almost always be off early to enjoy the rest of your day.
If you’re thinking about becoming a baker, start by baking at home. Then, decide if you want to go to culinary school or would rather get on the job training. From there, you can specialize (if desired) and work your ways towards certifications and custom treats.
Do you want to become a baker? Are you a professional baker? How did you do it? Share in the comment section below!About Michelle