How To Become a Professional Cake Decorator (With Skills)

Do you dream of creating elaborate confectionary works of art? Are you an aspiring cake decorator looking for tips and tricks on how to take your skills to the professional level? Becoming a professional cake decorator is a great way to combine your love for baking and your creative side. It takes an immense amount of skill, creativity and practice to successfully decorate cakes and turn them into masterpieces. In this post, we will discuss the fundamentals of becoming a professional cake decorator, from the basics of the trade to the challenges you may face during your journey. We will also provide tips on how to maximize your success. With the right knowledge and dedication, you can take your cake decorating skills to the next level and start a rewarding career as a professional cake decorator.

How to become a professional cake decorator
  1. Complete a high school diploma or GED. …
  2. Take courses on baking and decorating. …
  3. Earn a diploma or certificate in baking or pastry arts. …
  4. Pursue an apprenticeship. …
  5. Get professional experience. …
  6. Gain specialized certification. …
  7. Consider taking business courses to open your own business.

What does a professional cake decorator do?

Depending on where they work, professional cake decorators may have different responsibilities, but some of the most typical ones are as follows:

What is a professional cake decorator?

Professionals in the baking and pastry arts who create and embellish baked goods are known as cake decorators. They decorate cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries with various frostings and toppings, frequently creating custom designs or creations for customers. These professionals can frequently find employment in retail bakeries, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and resorts as well as catering companies, though some choose to launch their own home-based businesses.

Skills required to be a professional cake decorator

The following are some of the most crucial abilities and traits you can cultivate to become a successful professional cake decorator:

How to become a professional cake decorator

There are several different routes you can go down to become a skilled cake decorator, but the following are some of the most typical ones:

1. Complete a high school diploma or GED

Many employers and educational programs demand that applicants have a high school diploma or a GED. Possessing this certification shows that you have rudimentary math, science, and communication skills. Take home economics, cooking, and chemistry classes in high school because the abilities you develop there have a direct correlation to working as a professional cake decorator.

However, some employers may place a higher value on experience than on a formal education, so you might find apprenticeships and entry-level jobs open to hiring applicants with relevant experience but no high school diploma or GED.

2. Take courses on baking and decorating

Before enrolling in formal baking and decorating courses, think about attending online workshops or classes at a nearby community center. You can acquire the fundamental abilities required to start a small cake decorating business, an apprenticeship, or an entry-level position at a bakery. You can use these courses to decide if this is the right career path for you.

3. Earn a diploma or certificate in baking or pastry arts

Attend a community college, trade school, or college of the arts’ baking and pastry arts program. These programs involve taking theoretical and hand-on courses to learn:

You could graduate from the program with an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a professional certification. Having this certification shows potential employers that you are proficient in both fundamental baking and decorating techniques as well as a variety of more complex ones. Make sure to confirm the roles education and training requirements because some employers might prefer this formal education.

4. Pursue an apprenticeship

You can gain practical experience in best practices, expert techniques, and distinctive recipes by working as an apprentice in a bakery, restaurant, cafe, or other commercial baking setting. Typically, you’ll assist in maintaining equipment and stock while working as a member of a baking team and performing decorating duties under close supervision. While some employers who offer apprenticeships might not require any prior formal education or training, those at upscale bakeries or restaurants might only accept apprentices who have finished formal education and training in pastry arts. This position may also be referred to as a trainee, apprentice, or decorator.

Another option is to pursue an apprenticeship through a group representing the food industry, like the American Culinary Federation (ACF). This company runs a training and apprenticeship program that adheres to strict rules regarding the education, training, and work experience participants can earn during the course of the program. While completing any of the ACF’s apprentice programs can help you become a stronger chef, you might want to think about completing the 4,000-hour pastry cook program to gain practical experience and instruction in the best methods, cuisines, and pastry-related recipes.

5. Get professional experience

Apply for cake decorating positions at bakeries, cafes, restaurants, hotels, and catering businesses as an alternative to an apprenticeship or after you’ve finished one. Additionally, you can apply for positions as an entry-level baker and then advance to become a cake decorator.

You can gain experience in any environment by working in:

6. Gain specialized certification

You can obtain a variety of professional certifications from sector organizations to hone and validate your abilities, learn about standards for workplace hygiene, and develop your customer service abilities. Getting certified can help you advance your career, be hired for positions in prestigious baking environments, work your way up to executive pastry chef or kitchen manager, and increase your earning potential.

The following list includes some of the top professional certifications you might want to consider obtaining at various stages of your career:

For those who are just beginning their careers in pastry arts or those who are concentrating on the field for the first time, the ACF offers this entry-level certification. You can demonstrate your expertise in nutrition, food safety, sanitation, and food preparation with this certification. You must possess one of a select few combinations of culinary education and years of professional culinary experience in order to be eligible for the assessment and certification.

Those with prior pastry and baking experience who wish to assess their fundamental supervisory abilities and advanced culinary knowledge should pursue this certification. After completing the ACF’s Pastry Cook Apprenticeship Program, you can earn this. Alternatively, you can also earn this certification if you have:

After gaining at least five years of experience as an executive pastry chef or other culinary executive in charge of the production of baked goods, pastries, or confections, you can obtain this certification. To qualify for this certification, you need:

This certification, which is the highest the ACF offers, is only available to those who:

You must pass a rigorous eight-day examination process that includes high-pressure baking assessments in a variety of difficult techniques and cuisines in order to receive the CMPC certification.

Your ability to prepare cookies, cakes, breads, desserts, rolls, pies, and other baked goods at a commercial bakery is evaluated by this entry-level certification from the Retail Bakers of America (RBA). Although there are no educational prerequisites for this certification, you must have 1,000 hours of professional baking experience in either a retail or commercial setting or at least a year of professional baking experience in order to qualify. To earn this certification, you must pass the written test and video submission with a 75% or better

This certification from the RBA is for decorators who have some experience using specific decorating methods, creating seasonal displays and decorations, and finishing pastries with fondant, icing, and frosting. A ServSafe or comparable sanitation certification or training is one of the educational prerequisites for this certification. Additionally, you need to have at least four years of professional decorating experience in a commercial bakery environment, or a CJD certification and three years of such experience.

For this certification, you must pass a written test and a one-day practical test given by RBA. You must pass both exams with a 75% or better.

7. Consider taking business courses to open your own business

Consider enrolling in business administration classes online, at a community college, or at a university if you have little to no formal training in culinary and pastry arts, kitchen management, or culinary business administration. A business administration certification or diploma can help you develop your accounting, human resources, operational management, and other crucial business management skills.

Professional cake decorator salary and job outlook

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.

Become a Professional Cake Decorator | Cake Decorations


How long does it take to become a cake decorator?

Depending on the type of culinary program you select, degrees can range in length from six months to two years. Upon completion, you could receive anything from a certificate of completion to an Associate Degree in baking and the pastry arts.

How much can you make as a cake decorator?

The typical Cake Decorator salary is $25,660 per year, or $12 per hour. 34 per hour, in the United States. People on the lower end of that spectrum, the bottom 10% to be exact, make roughly $19,000 a year, while the top 10% makes $33,000 As most things go, location can be critical.

What education do you need for cake decorating?

Although training and/or a certificate or an associate’s degree in pastry arts or a related field may be necessary, no formal education is necessary to become a cake decorator.

What is a professional cake decorator called?

Cake decorators are also referred to as: cake artists; cake decorators; certified cake decorators.

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