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.

    Freshman Year—First Semester

    Baking and Pastry Techniques*
    6 credits
    Baking Ingredients and Equipment Technology
    1.5 credits
    Mathematical Foundations
    1.5 credits
    Externship Prep Seminar I
    Food Safety*
    1.5 credits
    Professionalism and Life Skills
    1.5 credits
    1.5 credits
    Introduction to the Hospitality Industry
    1.5 credits
    College Writing or College Writing for ELLs (English Language Learners)3 credits
    Total Credits: 18
    *Students must receive a passing grade for both Baking and Pastry Techniques and the NRA ServSafe® examination (part of the Food Safety course) and meet GPA requirements in order to progress to the second semester of the freshman year.

    Freshman Year—Second Semester

    Principles of Design
    1.5 credits
    Café Savory Food Production
    1.5 credits
    Basic and Classical Cakes
    3 credits
    Individual and Production Pastries
    3 credits
    Baking and Pastry Practical Examination I
    Hearth Breads and Rolls
    3 credits
    Principles of Menus and Managing Profitability in Foodservice Operations
    3 credits
    Externship Prep Seminar II
    Introduction to Gastronomy
    1.5 credits
    Total Credits: 16.5


    Externship (Baking & Pastry Arts)
    3 credits
    Total Credits: 3

    Sophomore Year—First Semester

    Confectionery Art and Special Occasion Cakes
    3 credits
    Chocolate and Confectionery Technology and Techniques
    3 credits
    Contemporary Cakes and Desserts
    3 credits
    Specialty Breads
    3 credits
    Advanced Baking Principles
    3 credits
    Baking and Pastry Practical Examination II
    Total Credits: 15

    Sophomore Year—Second Semester

    Wine Studies
    3 credits
    Introduction to Hospitality and Customer Service
    1.5 credits
    Café Operations
    3 credits
    Beverages and Customer Service
    3 credits
    Restaurant and Production Desserts
    3 credits
    Restaurant Operations: Baking and Pastry
    3 credits
    Total Credits: 16.5

    Total Credits for Associate Degree: 69

    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—approximately 92% 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
  • Zachary Bryant, CIA New York Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts student.

    Student Spotlight

    Zachary Bryant
    Associate Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts
    All throughout my life, I've always been surrounded by home cooking. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were the highlights/focuses of the day. Food just came naturally to me!
    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.
  • Food is big business, and you won’t find business education anywhere as food-focused as the CIA’s.
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