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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62-onA1gzjQ.
Quick Facts: Bakers
2021 Median Pay $29,750 per year
$14.31 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education No formal educational credential
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Long-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2020 193,400
Job Outlook, 2020-30 10% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 18,400

What Bakers Do

Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes in order to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods.

Work Environment

Most bakers work in retail or commercial bakeries (manufacturing facilities), grocery stores or wholesale club stores, and restaurants. Work shifts often include early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays.

How to Become a Baker

Although bakers typically need no formal educational credential, employers may prefer or require that candidates have a high school diploma. Some choose to attend a technical or culinary school. They typically learn their skills through on-the-job training, which may include participating in an apprenticeship program.

Pay

The median annual wage for bakers was $29,750 in May 2021.

Job Outlook

Employment of bakers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 28,300 openings for bakers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for bakers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of bakers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about bakers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Bakers Do About this section

Bakers
Bakers prepare various types of baked goods.

Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes in order to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods.

Duties

Bakers typically do the following:

  • Prepare workstation for baking
  • Measure and weigh ingredients
  • Combine measured ingredients in mixers or blenders
  • Knead, roll, cut, and shape dough
  • Prepare and fill pans, molds, or baking sheets
  • Set oven temperatures and place items into ovens
  • Monitor baking process and adjust oven temperature or item positioning as needed

Bakers produce breads, pastries, and other baked goods sold by grocers, wholesalers, restaurants, and institutional food services. Standard procedure for each batch includes checking the condition of ingredients, following instructions for recipes, and examining the quality of the final product.

The following are examples of types of bakers:

Commercial bakers, also called production bakers, work in manufacturing facilities that produce breads, pastries, and other baked products. In these facilities, bakers use high-volume mixing machines, ovens, and other equipment, which may be automated, to mass-produce standardized baked goods. They often work with other production workers, such as helpers and maintenance staff, to keep equipment cleaned and ready.

Retail bakers work primarily in grocery stores and specialty shops, including bakeries. In these settings, they produce small quantities of baked goods for people to eat in the shop or for sale as specialty items. Retail bakers may take orders from customers, prepare baked products to order, and occasionally serve customers. Most retail bakers are also responsible for cleaning their work area and equipment and unloading supplies.

Some retail bakers own bakery shops where they make and sell breads, pastries, pies, and other baked goods. In addition to preparing the baked goods and overseeing the entire baking process, they are also responsible for hiring, training, and supervising their staff. They must budget for and order supplies, set prices, and decide how much to produce each day.

Work Environment About this section

Bakers
Bakers stand for extended periods while they prepare dough.

Bakers held about 193,400 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of bakers were as follows:

Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing 29%
Food and beverage stores 28
Restaurants and other eating places 18
Self-employed workers 11

The work can be stressful because bakers must maintain consistent quality while following time-sensitive baking procedures, often under deadline.

Bakers are exposed to high temperatures when working around hot ovens. They stand for long periods while observing the baking process, making the dough, or cleaning the equipment.

Injuries and Illnesses

Bakeries, especially large manufacturing facilities, have potential dangers such as hot ovens, mixing machines, and dough cutters. Although their work is generally safe, bakers may experience back strain from lifting heavy items, as well as cuts, scrapes, and burns. To reduce risk of injury, bakers often wear back supports and heat-resistant aprons and gloves.

Work Schedules

Most bakers work full time, although part-time work is common. Schedules may vary and often include early morning, night, weekend, or holiday shifts. Some facilities operate around the clock.

How to Become a Baker About this section

Bakers
On-the-job training is the most common method of learning for bakers.

Bakers typically need no formal educational credential to enter the occupation; however, employers may prefer or require that candidates have a high school diploma, and some candidates choose to attend a technical or culinary school. Bakers typically learn their skills through on-the-job training, which may include participating in an apprenticeship program.

Education

High school students interested in becoming a baker may benefit from enrolling in culinary classes, if available, at their school.

Postsecondary options include attending a technical, culinary arts, or baking program that covers topics such as nutrition, food safety, and pastry techniques. Enrollees may be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent to enter these programs, which typically last 1 to 2 years.

Training

Most bakers learn their skills through on-the-job training. The length of training varies but may last up to 1 year. Some employers provide apprenticeship programs for aspiring bakers, which may take months or years to complete.

Training or apprenticeship programs cover topics such as baking and decorating techniques, production processes, and food safety.

Other Experience

Some bakers learn their skills through work experience related to baking. For example, they may start as a baker’s assistant and progress to becoming a baker as they take on more responsibility and refine their technique.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Employers may require candidates to obtain certification in food safety procedures. Check with your state or local health department for certification information.

Optional certification may demonstrate a level of competence and experience that makes candidates more attractive to employers.

For example, Retail Bakers of America offers certification for several levels of competence, with a focus on topics such as baking sanitation, management, retail sales, and staff training. Those who wish to become certified must satisfy requirements for education and experience before taking an exam. Other organizations may offer credentials for specific skills, such as the American Culinary Federation’s pastry chef certifications.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Bakers must be able to convey information effectively to other workers or to customers.

Detail oriented. Bakers must follow recipes and instructions precisely. They also should have an eye for detail because many pastries and cakes require intricate decorations.

Math skills. Bakers need basic math skills, especially knowledge of fractions, in order to mix recipes, weigh ingredients, or adjust mixes.

Physical stamina. Bakers stand for extended periods while they prepare dough, monitor baking, or package baked goods.

Physical strength. Bakers should be able to move heavy items, such as bulk-sized bags of flour, from storage to a work area.

Pay About this section

Bakers

Median annual wages, May 2021

Total, all occupations

$45,760

Food processing workers

$30,480

Bakers

$29,750

 

The median annual wage for bakers was $29,750 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $45,450.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for bakers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Food and beverage stores $29,900
Bakeries and tortilla manufacturing 29,690
Restaurants and other eating places 29,110

Most bakers work full time, although part-time work is common. Schedules may vary and often include early morning, night, weekend, or holiday shifts. Some facilities operate around the clock.

Job Outlook About this section

Bakers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Bakers

10%

Total, all occupations

8%

Food processing workers

4%

 

Employment of bakers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2020 to 2030, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

About 28,300 openings for bakers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Population and income growth are expected to result in greater demand for specialty baked goods, such as cupcakes, pies, and cakes, from grocery stores, retail bakeries, and restaurants.

However, employment of bakers in food manufacturing may be limited as these facilities increasingly use automated machines and equipment to mass-produce baked goods.

Employment projections data for bakers, 2020-30
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Bakers

51-3011 193,400 211,700 10 18,400 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of bakers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2021 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Chefs and head cooks Chefs and Head Cooks

Chefs and head cooks oversee the daily food preparation at restaurants and other places where food is served.

High school diploma or equivalent $50,160
Cooks Cooks

Cooks season and prepare foods, including soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.

See How to Become One $29,120
Food and tobacco processing workers Food Processing Equipment Workers

Food processing equipment workers operate machinery that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients for manufacturing food products.

See How to Become One $35,430
Food preparation workers Food Preparation Workers

Food preparation workers perform many routine tasks under the direction of cooks, chefs, or food service managers.

No formal educational credential $28,780

Contacts for More Information About this section

For details about apprenticeships or other work opportunities in this occupation, contact the offices of the state employment service, the state apprenticeship agency, local unions, or firms that employ bakers. Apprenticeship information is available from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship program online or by phone at 877-872-5627. Visit Apprenticeship.gov to search for apprenticeship opportunities.

For more information about food safety, food handling, or related certifications, check with your state or local department of health.

For more information about certification or training programs, visit

AIB International

American Culinary Federation

Retail Bakers of America

O*NET

Bakers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bakers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/bakers.htm (visited June 10, 2022).

Last Modified Date: Friday, May 27, 2022

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2020

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2020, which is the base year of the 2020-30 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2020-30

The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030. The average growth rate for all occupations is 8 percent.

Employment Change, 2020-30

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2020-30

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2020 to 2030.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

2021 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2021, the median annual wage for all workers was $45,760.