What do bakers do?
Once everything is baked, bakers use a variety of tools and techniques to decorate each item to company or customer specifications. It takes a skilled hand and a lot of patience to be successful.
It's not all cupcakes and cookies either. Bakeries are often extremely hot from the constant use of high temperature ovens, so if you can't stand the heat, you'll literally need to get out of the kitchen. They can also be very noisy from all the banging and clattering of pans and mixers throughout the day. Bakers work very early mornings to have the day's baked goods ready for the breakfast rush and morning shoppers. If you're looking for a "low stress" job, this just isn't it.
How much do bakers make?
The average salary for all bakers is about $11.50 per hour. Experienced bakers at high-end retailers can earn up to $18 per hour. The largest percentage of bakers have jobs in craft and specialty bakeries or grocery stores.
What are the education requirements?
Because there are so many technical skills bakers need to learn, nearly all start under the watchful eye of a more tenured person. In craft bakeries and specialty stores like high-end cake artisans or pastry shops, this training period is known as an apprenticeship. In a large supermarket chain, it's a less formal training period.
Career paths for bakers
Bakers can be certified by the Retail Bakers of America. The optional four-level certification can be attractive for potential employers and ranges from certified journey baker to certified master baker. Each level requires a combination of formal education, work experience and varied work experience.
The future of bakers
The BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) expects a very slow increase in baker positions over the 2008-2018 decade. This slow in growth stems from the automation and outsourcing of baking especially in large retail chains.
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