Bakers follow recipes, mix together ingredients, and produce various types of baked goods such as bread and pastries. They work in either retail stores creating small quantities of baked goods, or in the manufacturing sector where they use large mixing equipment to produce a much higher volume.
The skills required to become a certified baker are numerous. Besides becoming skilled at basic baking, icing, and decorating, bakers need to have knowledge of government health regulations, business principles, and a wide range of specific ingredients. They need to know how to run and maintain a variety of baking machines, and often are required to use high-speed, computer-operated equipment. They must also be detail-oriented, able to follow instructions, and good communicators.
In 2002, bakers earned a median annual salary of $20,580. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10 percent, who earned less than $14,100, and the highest 10 percent, who earned more than $33,470. The highest median annual salaries were found in bakeries and tortilla manufacturing, and the lowest in limited-service eating places.
Training and Education
The most common way bakers are trained is by becoming apprentices in craft or in-store bakeries. Working other food handling jobs can be a good way to prepare for becoming a baker's assistant. Many apprentice bakers who wish to become certified bakers often will enroll in correspondence courses.
Out of the nearly 757,000 food processing jobs in 2002, about 173,000 people were employed as bakers.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of bakers increase about as fast as the average. This is due to the consistent growth of large wholesale bakers, traditional bakeries, and specialty bread and bagel shops.