A wedding cake designer is similar to a fashion designer – only their work of art is edible. Wedding cake designers meet with prospective clients, design custom wedding cakes, and bake and decorate them so that they’re ready for delivery. While most wedding cake designers have formal training, others are self-taught.
In most states, work in any food-service industry requires a food handler’s permit. These are available through your local health department. Some offer an online course and test, while others require an in-person class. Your permit will last for one year and you’ll need to renew it.
Certification isn’t required for wedding cake designers, but it can help your chances when you apply for a position. Certification can be earned through the Retail Bakers of America and the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Wedding cake designers fall under bakers and pastry chefs, according to the ACF. Requirements vary depending on which certification you’re seeking. For example, a Certified Pastry Culinarian is an entry-level certification that requires two years of experience working in pastry, a high school diploma and 100 hours of continuing education.
Private companies and individuals offer online classes for wedding cake decorating and design. Participants who complete these classes can earn a certificate of completion. Some classes are offered through local craft stores, while others may be offered at local culinary supply stores. These certifications are not official by ACF standards, but they may help in getting an entry-level wedding cake design position with a local bakery or wedding cake service.
Cake decorators and designers are not required to have formal education. However, if you’re not applying for an entry-level position, some formal education may help your chances of getting hired. You can gain your culinary education through community college programs, vocational schools or technical colleges or by completing a two- or four-year program at a culinary institute. Some formal coursework can be transferred into continuing education requirements for professional certification as well.
Most cake designers learn their skills on the job. They can start as a design or baking assistant and learn the necessary techniques to move into a full-time wedding cake designer position. If you plan on working for yourself, you’ll need a portfolio of past cake creations and client references to prove your work experience to clients. If you’re applying for an entry-level position at a bakery, you may not be required to have any previous work experience.
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