Master Baker: How to Become, Career Outlook, Salaries

So, you love baking cakes, breads and pastries every now and then. And now you may be wondering if you can turn your hobby into a high-paying career by becoming a master baker one day.

Master bakers have the ability to produce top-notch baked products, train others in the trade and run a bakery. They are experts not only in culinary arts but also in retail sales and sanitation. In order to become certified, master bakers have to fulfill certain experiential and educational requirements.

Firmly believe that you have what it takes in order to work as a master baker? Keep reading.

We will talk about various master baker-related matters, including especially how much master bakers make a year and how one can become a master baker. By the time you reach the end of this post, you will be able to decide so much better if being a master baker is your calling or something else.

master baker class
Master Baker

How Much Do Master Bakers Make?

As of 2022, the average annual salary of master bakers in the US is $55,781. That’s equivalent to $27 per hour. Master bakers in different cities and industries are paid differently. Master bakers working in related fields, such as bakery research development and bakery engineering, are highly paid, too.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says that the average annual salary in the US amounts to $53,490. On the other hand, ZipRecruiter says that the average salary of people in the food industry is $55,393 per year.

Based on the figures above, master bakers in the land make about 4% more money per year than most other workers and 0.70% more money per year than most other professionals in the food industry. So, in other words, master bakers are some of the well-paid members of the workforce, making slightly more than average annually.

In order to get a much better idea of just how much master bakers make, check out the following table demonstrating their pay per year, month, week and hour:


Not all master bakers are paid the same. Some of them make more per year than their peers, depending on where in the US they are working.

Some cities in the country pay master bakers more as they tend to attract some of the most skilled and experienced master bakers around.

Here’s a table showing the average annual salaries of master bakers in some of the highest-paying cities:

San Jose, California$67,666
Oakland, California$66,896
Tanaina, Alaska$66,623
Wasilla, Alaska$66,622
Hayward, California$65,496
Jackson, Wyoming$65,425
Norwalk, Connecticut$65,254
Seattle, Washington$65,044
Vallejo, California$65,028
Concord, California$64,890

So, if you are planning on becoming a highly paid master baker, consider moving to one of the cities mentioned above. However, it’s not enough that you consider how much master bakers in these areas typically make per year — you should also consider the cost of living and other expenses associated with working in another city.

Besides being a master baker at a bakeshop or restaurant, you may also work in a related field or industry, some of which will allow you to make even more than the average $55,781 annual salary of most master bakers.

Check out this table demonstrating various positions and the average pay for each:

Bakery Research Developer$69,727$5,811$1,341$33.52
Bakery Engineer$67,131$5,594$1,291$32.27
Food Scientist Baker$64,581$5,382$1,242$31.05
Offshore Baker$61,227$5,102$1,177$29.44
Work-From-Home Offshore Baker$59,773$4,981$1,149$28.74

Other professionals that make around the same amount of money per year as master bakers include:

  • Plumbers: $56,000
  • Warehouse training managers: $55,800
  • First-line supervisors (non-retail): $55,700
  • Federal investigators: $55,600
  • Landscape architects: $55,400
  • Cardiovascular technicians: $55,300
  • Executive administrative assistants: $55,300
  • Elementary school teachers: $55,100
  • Film and video editors: $55,100
  • Museum curators: $55,100
  • Sales representatives: $54,700
  • Control and valve installers and repairers: $54,600
  • Educational counselors: $54,200
  • Mechanical engineering technicians: $54,200
inside bakery

Why are Master Bakers Paid so Much?

Master bakers are paid so much because of their many years of experience in commercial or retail baking. In order to obtain the job title, master bakers also had to undergo hours of professional development training as well as sanitation coursework. So, in other words, master bakers deserve to be paid well.

Above, we just established the fact that master bakers get an average annual salary that’s higher than what most other people in the food industry and from various occupations, too, get.

The journey to becoming a well-paid master baker isn’t easy — it isn’t short either!

Besides the requirement to have up to eight long years of experience in commercial or retail baking, individuals who wish to become master bakers also need to undergo some educational requirements in order to be able to apply for the necessary certification. Otherwise, they can never become certified master bakers.

In a few, we will talk about the steps you will have to take if you want to become a master baker one day — so don’t stop reading now if you are currently in the process of planning your educational and career path.

$55,781 — as mentioned earlier, this is the average annual salary of master bakers working in the US.

But master bakers can make less or more than the said amount per year. The middle 50% of all master bakers in the land make between $27,000 and $74,499 per year. This means that 25% of master bakers make less than $27,000 per year and 25% of master bakers make more than $74,499 per year.

Some master bakers in the country make more than $94,500 annually. However, these professionals represent just 1% of all available jobs that pay that much per year.

Wondering which other baker jobs pay well other than a master baker position so that you know what your various options are? Just check out this table of the highest paying baker jobs in 2022 and the annual salary range:

Bakery Chef$25,000 to $54,000
Head Baker$28,000 to $47,500
Bread Baker$25,000 to $36,000
Baker Apprentice$23,000 to $32,000
Baker Helper$20,500 to $28,000
Bakery Clerk$19,500 to $27,000
Bakery Worker$20,500 to $25,000

What Qualities Should Master Bakers Have?

Master bakers, especially those in retail baking, must have good communication skills in order to be able to effectively deal not only with customers but also with co-workers. They must also be detail-oriented for attaining product consistency and quality. It’s important for master bakers to have good math skills.

Needless to say, you must obtain superior baking skills if you want to work as a master baker one day.

Fret not because years of required experience in commercial or retail baking and the fulfillment of the various educational prerequisites in order to obtain the necessary certification will take care of that.

But it’s not just the ability to come up with mouth-watering and eye-catching baked goods that you will need if the goal is to become a seasoned and well-paid master baker — you will also have to gain and master a host of skills that all successful master bakers in the land possess.

They include:

Communication skills

Just about every job on the face of the planet requires human interaction.

And because master bakers have to interact with other workers in the trade, managers and, more importantly, customers, having good communication skills is vital not only for their own success but also for that of the business.

baker making pastry

Attention to detail

Baked products that are undercooked or overcooked are no good.

Similarly, customer satisfaction may not be met if the goods are not decorated intricately and consistently.

Being detail-oriented is also an important skill when it comes to developing, improving and executing recipes as well as processing customer orders.

Math skills

When it comes to creating and modifying recipes, master bakers have to do lots and lots of measuring, converting and adjusting in order to be able to whip up the perfect baked treats each time.

Because the ingredients have to be in the right proportions, it’s a definite must for master bakers to be comfortable and adept with numbers.


Baked products, in order for them to sell like hotcakes, have to be delicious as well as beautiful. It’s for this reason why some of the most creative individuals out there are successful master bakers.

Being creative comes in handy not only while executing recipes and design techniques and requirements but also when developing new offerings.

Eye-hand coordination

And speaking of design, there is something that master bakers, surgeons, airline pilots and race car drivers share in common: superior eye-hand coordination.

Luckily for those who dream of becoming top master bakers one day, attending culinary schools allows them to sharpen their designing skills hundreds of times.

Strength and stamina

It’s not uncommon for master bakers to work for up to 40 hours per week over five days. While at work, they spend most of their time on their feet as they carry out their everyday duties and responsibilities.

Besides stamina, master bakers also need to have strength in order to be able to lift heavy bags of flour and ingredients.

Ability to Work under pressure

Some master bakers work in environments that are simply more stressful and demanding than the rest.

Especially if the goal is to obtain a master baker job at a popular and busy establishment or produce trendy and sought-after products, being able to work under pressure is good not only for the master bakers themselves but also for the business.

How To Become a Master Baker

Completing up to eight years of hands-on experience in commercial or retail baking and going through some educational requirements are the initial steps to being a master baker. Earning the Certified Master Baker (CMB) designation through the Retail Bakers of America (RBA) is the final step to becoming one.

If you think that you can wake up one day dreaming of working as a master baker and then actually becoming a master baker the following day, better think again.

The path to a successful master baker career, if truth be told, ain’t no picnic!

It all begins with being in commercial or retail baking, which usually entails being an apprentice or trainee at the start.

An example of a commercial bakery is a facility that mass produces an assortment of baked goods.

An example of a retail bakery, meanwhile, is a bakeshop, specialty shop or grocery store.

Spending up to eight long years working as a baker is important in order for you to learn and develop a variety of skills, ranging from baking, decorating baked products, operating baking equipment to handling food that meets health and safety standards. It will also give you the opportunity to take on challenging roles, like supervising a team.

After having enough experience in commercial or retail baking, you will have to meet an assortment of educational requirements in the form of coursework, workshops, seminars and tests.

The prerequisite education for aspiring master bakers lasts for a total of 60 hours — 30 hours are dedicated to sanitation, while the other 30 hours are dedicated to professional development.

After the completion of the prerequisite education, you will have to apply for your certification.

For this matter, you will have to approach RBA, which is a non-profit trade organization committed to the continued success of the baking industry in the US. What RBA confers is the highest certification that bakers can get through it, and it’s none other than the CMB — Certified Master Baker.

In order for you to earn your CMB, you will need to take a two-day exam which will put your baking skills to the test.

The first part of the exam is the written kind.

The second part of the exam, on the other hand, involves preparing and decorating all kinds of baked products. In order to pass, you will have to get a score of 75% on each exam.

That’s it — after successfully completing everything, you will have a CMB designation!

As you can see, being a master baker will require you to devote plenty of dedication, hard work and time. All in all, the entire preparation for becoming a certified master baker can take up to eight to 10 years.


Other Career Opportunities for Master Bakers

Because of their industry experience and the successful completion of the educational requirement to become certified, master bakers can take various career paths. The majority of their options are still in the culinary arts industry, ranging from managing a bakeshop, making wedding cakes to reviewing food.

Just because being a master baker puts you at the top doesn’t necessarily mean that you can never try your hands at another job within the baking or food sector.

The fact is that there are many careers available for master bakers besides what they are certified for.

Needless to say, should you become a master baker one day and decide to explore other career opportunities, you can rest assured that there are some where you can shine and achieve more, such as:

Bakery manager

Having an associate degree in either culinary arts or baking and pastry arts is not a requirement but advantageous for individuals who wish to switch from being master bakers to being bakery managers.

In the US, bakery managers can make anywhere from $10,119 to $237,999 per year.

Food critic

Generally speaking, food critics in the country make anywhere from $80,000 to $90,000 per year. It will depend on which region they are in and how long their experience is.

While it’s true that master bakers who wish to work as food critics already have food knowledge, they will also need to have objectivity and excellent communication skills.

Research and development chef

What research and development chefs do is create new recipes or modify existing ones in order to improve the food product of a business or company.

While having a bachelor’s degree in a related field is a plus, many employers also hire associate degree holders. Annually, it’s not uncommon for research and development chefs to make $59,391.

Wedding cake designer

It’s true that the wedding season runs from May to October. However, wedding cake designers can be very busy all year round, especially given the fact that many couples prepare for tying the knot a year in advance.

The top 10% of the highest-paid wedding cake designers in the country can make more than $89,000 annually.


Simply put, chocolatiers are professionals who make an assortment of chocolate confectionery such as chocolate bars and truffles.

They can work in professional kitchens or have their own chocolate stores, which can also be referred to as chocolatiers. In the US, chocolatiers make anywhere from $23,150 to $74,170 per year.

Just Before You Try to Become a Master Baker

Master bakers are in charge of a lot of things — from developing recipes, baking and decorating baked goods, training others in the baking trade and even running a bakery.

Because of this, one must have a lengthy experience in commercial or retail baking and meet educational requirements in order to become a certified master baker.

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