I'm not sure if this info. is elsewhere on here, or completely off topic altogether...
I would love to have a bakery someday. I say someday because my kids are 6, 4, 3 and one on the way. I'm busy and dedicated at home for the time being. However, I'd love to get some formal training. (I do cakes and baking for friends and relatives and LOVE that right now).
An area technical college has a one year diploma in "baking and pastry arts" that sounds awesome. Also, I've looked into the Art Institute. Does anyone know anything/heard anything/about the Art Institute??
The art institutes are a similar concept as strayer etc. I looked into it and I think it is only something to consider if you really want to go to pastry school and your location is not ideal or if you are busy and can't go full-time.
I think it is probably better to go to a more reputable pastry school if you are thinking of spending the money anyway.
I attend for baking an pastry an if I had a time machine I would have never.they teach you mostly high end desserts an tortes which isnt what im planning on doing so...they teach you good stuff tho but not my field of interest.
I graduated from The art institute of NYC about 4 years ago. Their culinary program has since closed (nyc only) however I thought it was great since at that time my plans were to become a chef. They have a great pastry program and they do teach you the business aspect of owning a bakery but information is minimal. but if you are looking for strictly business, cake decorating and sugar work I'd recommend taking a recreational cake deco course somewhere. If you live in NYC or close the institute of culinary education aka ICE has an awesome intensive 1 week class taught by Master sugar artist Toba Garret. If you are not in the city then you should look into an internship at your local bakery if they offer. That would be the best way to see how the day to day running of a bakery takes place. I hope I answered your question.
If you just want to make cakes and decorate them, you probably won't get your money's worth out of this type of baking and pastry program -- I'd recommend a few Wilton courses and some business classes instead. Now if you want to serve a specialty niche and/or make high-end pastries, that's another story. It's practically a prerequisite if you want to be a pastry chef at a high-end restaurant or hotel.
My wife graduated from the baking and pastry program at the Professional Culinary Institute in the SF Bay area a few years ago, here are some pictures of the items she made during the program:
if you are looking into the culinary program at a tech college, make sure to look at their course listing to see if they cover the things you are wanting to learn. i looked into the tech college in my town and their culinary is for restaurant style cooking only. they don't even cover pastry. so make sure about that before enrolling.
a couple of years ago, I looked into going there as a night/weekend student. It turns out, for culinary stuff, you really can't, at least in DC. The first class all students are required to take is only offered during the daytime. So that killed my interest in them.
I looked into the Art Institute of Pittsburgh a few months ago, specifically for their Pastry Program, which was only a couple years old at that location and had no graduates yet.
The only thing they had to offer in terms of Pastry was a Bachelor Degree, no certificate or diploma program, and it involves everything, not just cakes and decorating. While it would have been great if I was just out of high school, it doesn't fit into my life right now, being a SAHM of a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old. I'm settling right now for some Wilton courses, a Baking course at our local community college and practice at home.