How To Become A Baker

A baker's job is to prepare all kinds of bread, pastries, rolls, and other baked goods. Bakers get to work in many different settings such as bakeries or large organizations like airlines, hotels, or factories. Commercial bakers work in manufacturing facilities that mass produce bakery items, and they use high volume mixing machines, ovens, and other large equipment. On the other hand, retail bakers work in grocery stores and specialty shops; where they produce smaller batches based on customer orders or specialty bakery items.

Education And Experience
Bakers do not require any formal education, but they could work as an apprentice or enroll in a technical culinary program in order to increase their career opportunities and enhance their baking skills. Some bakers may begin their career with on the job training. Bakers who work in specialty bakery shops and grocery stores start as apprentices and trainees. They learn various techniques of icing, baking, and decorating food items. Apprentices and trainees learn basic baking, safe food handling, and nutrition.  Many apprentices will enroll in correspondence courses to earn a certificate in baking.

Bakers working in factories learn to operate many mixing and blending machines. They also learn about various combinations of ingredients, how to operate large scale ovens to achieve consistency on mass produced bakery items, and review and understand guidelines about government regulations on health and sanitation.

Bakers may receive certification through the Retail Bakers of America. Although, this certification is not necessary, it could demonstrate that bakers possess knowledge and skills to perform well in a retail baking establishment. The certification is offered in several specialties such as baking sanitation, retail sales, management, and staff training. The education and experience requirements vary according to the different levels of certification. Some certifications only require experience, while advanced level certifications require many years of experience, training in certain courses, and formal education.

Bakers with the following skills and attributes may have a better a chance to thrive in their career:

  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Above average organizational skills
  • Ability to follow recipes and exercise creativity
  • Ability to precisely follow the health and safety standards
  • Good health and personal hygiene
  • Ability to manage time and meet deadlines
  • Interpersonal skills to work effectively with diverse people

Baker Job Description
Bakers normally perform the following duties at work:

  • Ensure the quality of ingredients
  • Prepare equipment for baking
  • Weigh and measure different baking ingredients
  • Use mixers and blenders to combine ingredients
  • Knead, roll, cut, and shape dough
  • Set and adjust oven temperatures
  • Place items in ovens or grills
  • Monitor the color and state of items being baked
  • Decorate baked products using various utensils, brushes, and spatulas

Career Outlook And Salary
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for bakers in May 2010 was around $23,000. Highly skilled and experienced bakers are likely to have more job opportunities as there is a growing demand of specialty products, and these products require high level of skills and years of experience.


Q:How long does it take to become a baker?

A:It can take you 2-4 years of college education to prepare for a professional role as a baker. Most bakers pursue an associate or a bachelor degree in baking and pastry arts. Some individuals also opt for a certification in the field. The duration will vary and depend upon the academic route you choose. Training and hands on experience is an important part of becoming a baker.

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