How to become a baker

November 27, 2014

From training to certification—get all the information you need to start a rewarding career as a baker or pastry chef.

How to become a baker

Do you dream of stand-up mixers, the perfect cupcake tray, and icing for days? Most people think of baking as a hobby, but it can also be quite a rewarding career. Growth in the number of bakeries, cafes, restaurants and in-store supermarket bakeries continues to drive demand for bakers in Canada.

A baker's profile

Does this sound like you?

  • Detail oriented: Baking is as much a science as it is an art. You’ll need to be able to carefully follow recipes, take customer orders and precisely decorate your baked goods.
  • Creative: A baker is always experimenting with a new recipe, design or technique to create the perfect dish.
  • Personable: Most bakers work as part of a large team, and help manage customer orders all day long. Good communication skills are key.
  • Good at basic arithmetic: Bakers are constantly adding, subtracting and converting measurements to mix recipes, weight ingredients or adjust the serving size.

A baker's background

Bakers come from a wide range of backgrounds.

  • A lot of bakers start by apprenticing under an established baker or pastry chef.
  • According to data from the 2006 Census, 57 per cent of bakers had no post-secondary education and only 16 per cent of them had a post-secondary diploma or degree in personal and culinary services.

Culinary school

Despite the above numbers, attending a technical program or culinary school can have a lot of benefits for your career.

  • It can help you improve your craft, learn new techniques, find your niche as a baker and give you an edge over other bakers.
  • If you want to be a high-end pastry chef, you should definitely consider attending a culinary school.
  • A technical or culinary program will typically last from one to two years and will give you hands-on training you need to be able to successfully start your career in the food service industry.


The next step will be to apprentice.

  • It’s common for bakers to start out in a bakery or grocery store while learning the basics of baking, icing and decorating.
  • This paid training typically lasts for one to three years, and will help you make all kinds of valuable connections in your industry for when you are ready to strike out and get a job on your own.


After that, you can choose to specialize.

  • For example, you may wish to become a plant or commercial baker, in-store or retail baker, or even own your own shop.
  • Maybe you only want to make pies. Or bake gluten-free products. The choices are endless.


Some bakers choose to get certified.

  • Bakers with the Canadian Red Seal certification can work anywhere in Canada.
  • To be a certified journey baker, you don’t need any formal education, but you do need one year of work experience.
  • To be a certified baker, you need to have four years of work experience.
  • To call yourself a certified master baker, you’ll need eight years of work experience, along with 30 hours of professional development training and 30 hours of sanitation coursework.
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