CIA Baking and Pastry Arts Associate Degree

  • Rise to the challenge! Learn to run your own bakery or café, design spectacular cakes, or prepare desserts for high-end catered affairs? If so, the CIA Associate in Occupational Studies (AOS) in Baking and Pastry Arts degree program is for you. Our industry-experienced faculty will ensure you receive a hands-on learning experience that provides you with the foundation for a successful career. After you’ve earned your degree in less than two years, you’ll be trained to craft high-end, delicious chocolates, confections, pastries, and plated desserts. A CIA associate degree is the perfect way to seamlessly enter our bachelor’s-level programs. Or hit the ground running by pursuing a CIA bachelor’s degree in your first year!


    • Throughout your education, learn to create artisan breads, desserts, pastries, chocolates, and confections.
    • Learn the basics of cooking, gastronomy, menu development, food safety, and cost control.
    • Study pastry techniques, baking ingredients and technology, hospitality, nutrition, and principles of design.
    • Bake simple and complex cakes and tortes using a variety of techniques as well as classical and modern presentations.
    • Hone your business skills with courses in management, communications, and finance.
    • Gain real-world experience through a semester-long paid internship at one of CIA’s 2,000+ food industry partners.
    • By working in the CIA’s student-staffed Apple Pie Bakery Café, experience firsthand how a successful bakery café is operated. All CIA restaurants are public-facing, fully operational retail dining establishments that serve more than 333,000 customers annually.
    • Interact with more than 130 companies that visit CIA’s campus four times a year to recruit students. Discuss career opportunities with these leaders, which include Bread Alone, Carlo’s Bakery, Hershey Resorts, Magnolia Bakery, Something Natural, and Walt Disney World, among many others.

    Ready to get started? Apply Today!

    Fully Baked Opportunities

    The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment opportunities for chefs, including dessert and pastry chefs, will grow nine percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the national average for other careers. You’ll find plenty of employment opportunities at:

    • Bakeries
    • Bistros
    • Hotels
    • Private clubs
    • Resorts
    • Restaurants

    With so many possibilities, our Career Services staff is ready to help you every step of the way. There’s no network like the CIA network, which includes some of the world’s most renowned culinary, beverage, and hospitality experts.

    The list of celebrated CIA alumni is as diverse as it is extensive. They’ve found success doing what they love. Now it’s your turn.


    The 69-credit AOS in Baking and Pastry Arts degree program includes:

    • 55.5 credits in baking and pastry arts requirements
    • 7.5 credits in liberal arts requirements
    • 6 credits in business management requirements

    You will get a hands-on experiential foundation in the baking and pastry arts, including specialty breads, confectionery art, production desserts, design, advanced baking principles, menus, and café savory foods.

    As part of your degree program, you’ll get real-world experience during a semester-long internship at one of more than 2,000 CIA-approved businesses, as well as in the kitchens and dining rooms of the CIA’s award-winning public restaurants.

    See catalog for curriculum details

    Requirements for Admission

    • A high school diploma or GED credential.
    • Recommendation—One character letter of recommendation is required. It should be from an employer, teacher, or professional colleague either within or outside the foodservice industry. The letter should address your commitment to the food world, problem-solving ability, and persistence in either work or academics.

    How to Apply

    Baking & Pastry School Costs

    The CIA is very committed to making your CIA education as affordable as possible. Our costs are comparable to similar colleges, and here’s even better news—more than 90% of our students receive some form of financial aid.

    Don’t let applying for financial assistance keep you from going to the world’s premier culinary college. No matter what your individual circumstances are, we will work with you to help make attending the CIA an affordable investment in your future in the world of food.

  • Learn about top baking and pastry careers - read CIA's whitepaper
  • Genevieve Meli, baking and pastry arts associate degree alumna of The Culinary Institute of America.

    Alumni Spotlight

    Genevieve Meli
    Chef, Author, Educator
    The Zagat Survey recently named Genevieve to their 2016 30 Under 30 Rock Stars Redefining the Industry list.
    Richard Coppedge, CIA Professor—Baking and Pastry Arts

    Faculty Spotlight

    Richard J. Coppedge, Jr.
    Professor—Baking and Pastry Arts
    Marc Sarrazin Cup (CIA team), Salon of Culinary Arts, NYC, 1996, 1997; 1994 CIA Faculty Member of the Year; Diploma-Bread Display, 1994 and 1995, New York Food Show; Diploma, 1993 New York Food Show; Bronze Medal, Individual Pastry Buffet, ACF; First Place: Pastry Grand Buffet Work; Silver Medal: Bread Display; Judges Award: Sugar Display; Boston Food Show; Bread Centerpiece, Salon of Culinary Arts, NYC.
  • Our public restaurants make it real—you prepare and serve meals to customers right on campus.
    Learn More