Careers in cooking and baking makes for an exciting profession.
Bakers can work at supermarkets, cafeterias, restaurants, hospitals, schools, colleges, nursing and assisted living homes and, of course, bakeries. Indeed, anyplace that serves delicious baked treats to customers, residents or guests needs at least one baker. And there may be no professional on earth that enjoys better aromas on a daily basis than the baker.
To become a baker, you usually need a high school degree. If you own and operate your own bakery, however, you have the opportunity to make a lot more money than being a hired baker. The long-term job outlook for this career is healthy, too. Part of the reason for this positive job market is that high-end establishments selling baked goods, like specialty bagel shops, have increased in number dramatically over the past several years.
Bakers are responsible for baking goods according to orders, and for maintaining and cleaning their baking equipment. Creativity can also be important to the craft of the baker, especially when she or he is making goods for special occasions, like wedding cakes or Christmas cookies. Some bakers concentrate on meeting large orders that are then distributed to supermarkets and other establishments. Others work on one baked product at a time, giving each creation loving care and attention.
In many instances, they also have to sell products to customers, which means that bakers need a friendly demeanor and the ability to interact well with the general public. They also need to stick to a budget, and to follow all the health and safety requirements that the laws of a given state set forth. And to be a baker you have to be willing to work in a hot, sometimes cramped environment, and to be on your feet all day. Many bakers have to work on holidays, too, at least early on in their careers, as the demand for baked goods during certain holidays is often high. As you earn seniority the hours become easier.
Formal training is not required for a person to become a baker. Most bakers learn their craft through an apprenticeship that can last a year or longer. Others decide to take culinary arts courses at a community college or private academy before entering the career. And some bakers who dream of owning their own bakery will take classes in business management, marketing and advertising in order to maintain a competitive edge.
However bakers learn their craft, it’s important that they know how to use all of the equipment they’ll need on the job before they apply for a position.
It’s also worth noting that few bakers start their careers by opening their own bakeries. Usually, bakers will work for someone else for at least a few years to really gain expertise, and to get a sense of how to run a baking outfit, before they’ll attempt to open their own shops.