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Apr 11, 2013

Culinary Profession Job Outlook 2013

Professional chefs and bakers are special people. Being a chef takes more than just a knack for cooking; true culinary artists are food experts who turn eating into art. People with an interest in entering the culinary field should consider the 2013 job outlook for pastry chefs, bakers, professional chefs and other types of culinary professionals as described below.


The word "chef" comes from the French word for "chief." As the name suggests, the chef is the person in charge of a professional commercial kitchen. A head chef is the top chef in the restaurant or kitchen; a sous chef is the "second-in-command."

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top 10 percent of chefs earn more than $70,000 per year. The median wage of head chefs, though, is closer to $40,000 per year. Between 2010 and 2020, BLS predicts that the job market for professional chefs will grow quite slowly if it grows at all.

Pastry Chefs

Pastry chefs are true baking artists. They create those cakes, cupcakes, danishes and other delectable desserts that all of us crave but most of us know better than to eat too many of. Pastry chefs are employed by top restaurants and hotels as well as in bakeries, catering companies, pastry shops and wedding cake specialty stores.

An executive pastry chef, the culinary professional who sits at the top of this sub-field, can earn up to $60,000 per year, according to Even a less-experienced assistant pastry chef can still earn around $38,000 per year.


While all pastry chefs are bakers, not all bakers are pastry chefs. The professional cooks who bake but who don't specialize in delicate sweets usually just go by the simple title of "baker."

Being a baker doesn't always require a degree in culinary arts. Many bakers only have a high school education. This lack of an advanced degree, however, also translates into lower pay. According to BLS, as of May 2010, bakers earned an average of just $23,450 per year. Bakers who are also entrepreneurs have a little bit better chance of earning a decent living. The job market for bakers is expected to grow by only 2 percent, which is much slower than average.

Degrees as a Culinary Arts Professional or Culinary Arts Specialist

When researching the terms "culinary arts professional" and "culinary arts specialists," you may find that different culinary schools use these terms in different ways. In some cases, the designation of "professional" represents a degree or certificate that has involved greater classroom work. In other cases, the designation "professional" indicates that the individual has been trained not just in chef skills but also in restaurant management. If you want to become a chef or a baker, either of these degrees will act as an excellent first step.