Become a Chocolatier: Education and Career Information
Find out how to become a chocolatier. Research the education and training requirements, and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in working with chocolate.
Do I Want to Be a Chocolatier?
Chocolatiers design and make candies, crafting elaborate displays of chocolates. Individuals working in this field must have the artistic flair and technical expertise to blend different types of chocolate with other ingredients and mold the confections into intricate designs. Falling under the O*Net category of chefs and head cooks, these professionals often spend extended periods of time on their feet and sometimes deal with stressful working conditions.
A combination of specialized training and experience making fine chocolates is necessary to advance in this field. Many chocolatiers have studied in apprenticeships, vocational programs or earned degrees in culinary arts. Certifications aren't required but may lead to the best job opportunities. The table below outlines requirements to become a chef or head cook, according to O*Net.
|Degree Level||Some vocational training or an associate's degree|
|Field of Study||Baking and pastry arts|
|Experience||Previous culinary experience, often as a pastry chef|
|Key Skills||Critical thinking, reading comprehension and communication skills; a steady hand; originality|
|Technical Skills||Able to use culinary equipment, including cutlery, thermometers and ranges|
Step 1: Complete a Training Program
An associate's degree program in bakery and pastry arts can teach students to prepare pastries, confections, desserts and breads. Courses usually include baking techniques, culinary mathematics, food safety, nutrition, ingredients and baking equipment. The curriculum should provide students with practical information on techniques used by professional pastry chefs, such as blending, creaming and cutting ingredients. They'll also learn about units of measurement, conversions and scaling, and determining costs for recipes.
Alternatively, aspiring chocolatier training might train at a for-profit center dedicated to teaching chocolate confectionery. These programs are limited within the U.S. and sometimes require completion of a previous culinary program for enrollment. Students typically learn to temper, mold and store chocolate, as well as how to craft artisan bonbons, chocolate bars and other confections.
- Complete an internship. Many college programs in baking and pastry arts assist students in obtaining work experience through internships. These opportunities give prospective chocolatiers real-world experience working in their trade and learning first-hand from watching experienced chocolatiers at work.
Step 2: Seek Entry-Level Employment
Prospective chocolatiers often find employment assisting experienced chocolatiers. This allows them to further hone their skills in preparation for advancing to a head chocolatier position or opening their own chocolatier business.
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