The highest-paid retail bakers belong to unions. Unfortunately, not every business that employs bakers is unionized. Union bakers can make up to $14 or $15 an hour, which is slightly higher than the wage for nonunion bakery employees. In 2006, the average baker earned an annual wage between $17,000 and $28,000. A baker at the top of his or her craft can make more than $40,000 a year. Apprentices can expect to make less than $7 an hour when they begin their careers.
The highest-paid bakers of all are the specialists. Cake decorators who create individual and artistic designs for each item they work on can be very well paid. Bakers in this category are referred to as artisans. Pastry chefs (see chapter 4) also fall into this category.
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