Bakery Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Many bakers begin as bakery helpers. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. Classes that will help you in this field include family and consumer science, which should teach you about food preparation, health, and nutrition, and math, such as algebra and geometry, so that you are comfortable using numbers and making calculations. You may also want to take science courses such as biology and chemistry to get an understanding of substances' properties and reactions. If you are interested in working as a bakery-maintenance engineer, take shop classes that will teach you to work with electricity and machinery.

Postsecondary Training

Some bakery workers acquire useful skills through education in technical schools or in the U.S. Armed Forces. However, they usually complete their education on the job.

The skills that bakery helpers need to become bakers in wholesale baking plants can be learned in several ways. In some companies, bakery helpers can learn through formal apprenticeships. Apprenticeships consist of a blend of classroom and on-the-job instruction and take several years to complete.

After they have some experience, bakery workers who have proved they are good employees but want to upgrade their skills may attend training courses offered by the AIB International. Others take correspondence courses and seminars offered by AIB International at various locations. Bakers who successfully complete this training receive specialty certification in bread, cake, or cracker production.

Some chef training schools have bakery programs for students interested in learning diverse baking skills, from basic bread to gourmet pastries.

Some companies provide apprenticeships for employees who are training to be bakery-maintenance engineers. Another option is to take classes, correspondence courses, and seminars offered by the AIB International.

Other Education or Training

AIB International offers correspondence and online courses. Topics include baking fundamentals, food safety, and baking science. The American Society of Baking and Retail Bakers of America offer webinars and conference seminars and workshops. The Culinary Institute of America offers a bachelor's degree study concentration in Advanced Concepts in Bakery and Pastry. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

AIB International offers courses leading to certification in a number of areas. Certification is also offered by Retail Bakers of America, including the titles of certified baker, certified master baker, certified journey baker, and certified decorator. Some employers may require certification; in other cases, certification is recommended for those wanting to advance their careers. In addition, most states require bakery workers to pass a physical exam and have a health certificate stating that they are free from contagious diseases.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To obtain experience, try to get a part-time or summer job at a neighborhood bakery. Although many positions do not require prior baking experience, those with experience are more likely to land jobs, earn higher pay, and get promoted.

Manual dexterity is important in many bakery jobs. Artistic ability is useful for those who enjoy decorating cakes, cookies, doughnuts, and other baked goods. Bakers must supervise operational and food production activities. Bakery workers must be able to work well as part of a team, since they are all contributing something to create the finished products. Bakers must be able to determine the quality of food ingredients or prepared foods. Additionally, as with any professional working with food, bakery workers should have keen senses of smell and taste.