Pastry Chef Salary

The average annual pastry chef salary varies by city, as with most careers in the U.S., and is also influenced by education, training, and work experience. Did you complete a pastry arts program at a culinary arts school? Have you ever worked in a bakery and experienced the behind-the-scenes operations first-hand? Are you located in a prime city for career opportunities as a pastry chef or baker? All of these factors contribute to determine your potential annual salary or hourly rate.

Annual Pastry Chef Salaries by City

The average annual salary of a pastry chef working in New York City is $45,509. In Las Vegas, Nevada, pastry chefs typically earn around $56,000 (really making the dough!), whereas $30,727 is the average salary for pastry chefs in Seattle.

Other popular cities for pastry chef jobs include San Francisco, California (with an average chef salary of $40,000), Los Angeles, California ($52,000 annually), Boston, Massachusetts ($43,500 per year), and Chicago, Illinois ($38,000 on average).

Overall, Florida, New York, and California rank among the top states for high median pastry chef salaries, each topping $43,000 per year.

The most recent data (as of December 2010) gives the annual pastry chef salary range for San Francisco at between $30,837 and $54,045, whereas the salary range is from $39,305 to 55,955 annually for pastry chefs employed in Los Angeles, California. For New York City, the range is $39,801 – $65,735 annually. Finally, the estimated annual salary for a pastry chef working in Orlando, Florida is between $32,492 and $51,612.

Annual Pastry Chef Salary by Pastry School

Pastry chef salaries also vary by educational background. In other words, the pastry school you graduate from can be a factor in how your salary is determined.

The following is a list of top pastry schools and their associated annual salary ranges:

  • Culinary Institute of America (CIA): $30,096 – $51,175
  • Johnson & Wales University-Charlotte: $31,449 – $46,255
  • California Culinary Academy: $40,695 – $73,698
  • French Culinary Institute: $37,500 – $65,000
  • Cooking & Hospitality Institute of Chicago: $29,492 – $37,500

Education and Experience Influence Salary for Pastry Chefs

Other factors which determine salary for pastry chefs are education and professional experience.

One of the best ways to increase your salary as a working pastry chef is through specialized culinary education and training which focuses on pastry arts and baking.

Completing a pastry arts program at a top culinary school will not only broaden and strengthen your skills and expertise, but also make you more attractive to restaurants, bakeries, and other potential employers looking to hire a pastry chef. Learn more about pastry and baking schools.

Work experience is invaluable because you learn things on the job in the professional world of pastry and baking that you won’t and can’t learn while in culinary school. The better you know the business and can meet the daily demands of being a professional pastry chef, the better your chances for career improvement and salary increase.

Hourly Rates for Pastry Chefs

Some pastry chefs, however, are paid by the hour and do not receive an annual salary. Typical hourly rates for pastry chefs, based on years of experience in the food industry, break down as follows:

  • Less than one year: $9.50/hour
  • 1-4 years: $11.25/hour
  • 5-9 years: $13.65/hour
  • 10-19 years: $14.84/hour
  • 20 or more years: $16.00/hour

Pastry Chef Job Benefits

Something else for pastry chefs to take into consideration are the job benefits. Two similar pastry chef positions may be offering different salaries, but that doesn’t mean the higher paying job is the better deal. Lucrative job benefits include: paid sick leave, paid vacations, 401(k) support and matching, life insurance or disability, flex-time and flexible schedule options, and reimbursement of tuition and fees for education and career advancement related activities such as pastry chef training and certification. The current national salary average for a pastry chef job which has at least one of these benefits is above $40,000.