Homemade Pizza School

Updated: March 24, 2023

Your Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Pizzaiolo

Table of Contents

Do you love making pizza? Are you passionate about 00 flour and fresh tomato sauce? Do you have strong opinions about pineapple on pizza or anchovies and know the importance of buffalo mozzarella? Then you should consider taking a course and becoming a professional pizzaiolo. 

Or maybe you are an amateur pizza maker that is fascinated by fermentation and the science of yeast. Or you are a home chef that knows the difference between biga and poolish.

Whether you are an aspiring professional or simply an amateur pizza maker, perfecting your pizza by taking culinary courses can help you learn more about the art of making pizza and take your skillset to the next level.

What is a Pizzaiolo?

what is a pizzaiolo
Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

If you’ve ever wondered whats a pizza chef called, Pizzaiolo (or pizzaioli) is an Italian term that literally means pizza chef. Traditionally it referred to a pizza chef trained in specifically in Neapolitan-style pizza. Neapolitan style pizza is pizza that is cooked on an extremely hot wood-fired oven in around 90 seconds.

It is charred on the edges and wet, almost soupy in the middle. A Neapolitan pizza is served uncut and is the size of a frisbee. They are considered single serving pizzas and are not meant to be sliced or shared.

These days, the term “pizzaiolo” can be used for any trained and certified pizza chef in any pizza making style.  A pizzaiolo is someone who dedicates themselves to learning the craft of pizza making. A true pizzaiolo understands the process of making dough. They know exactly the type of yeast to use to get the results they want. A true pizzaiolo is passionate about produce.

They use the best tomatoes available and know which flavors complement others to bring out the best in both. A dedicated pizzaiolo understands the science behind cheese making and will often make their own cheeses or be close to a cheesemaker. 

In Naples, the home of the very first pizza, a pizzaiolo is considered an artist, a creative soul that uses the pizza as their canvas. They are often referred to as craftsmen who build a flavor profile and know how to structure a pizza. We can’t agree more!

So just saying a pizzaiolo is a pizza maker seems a little light on the meaning when they are truly so much more.

Top restaurants hire them to make sure they have the most experienced and knowledgeable pizza makers. And wood-fired brick pizza ovens mean very little if they don’t have a trained professional to use them, right?

How to Become a Pizzaiolo

how to become a pizzaiolo
Photo by Hathaipat K. on Unsplash

Luckily, anyone passionate about pizza can become a pizzaiolo! You do not need to be a chef or even have Italian heritage to become certified. However, many aspiring chefs come from a culinary background. Many experienced bakers will make the leap from bread to pizza. 

There are courses available and pizza schools worldwide where you can learn to make pizza the right way. Some courses are for home chefs that want to make pizza as a hobby. Other schools focus more on professional training to prepare a person to run a small kitchen or pizzeria.

If you want to learn the trade and art of pizza making and are lucky enough to know the right person, you can learn as an apprentice. However, most professionals won’t take on an apprentice that hasn’t had at least some training. 

While a formal certificate or training is not required, it can be a helpful step to learn the basics and decide if pursuing this dream is indeed what you want to do.

How to Get Officially Neapolitan-Certified

pizzaiolo at home
Photo by Nik Owens on Unsplash

There are a few different types of certification to become a professional maker of pizzas. The Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN) is the only place that can certify a true Neapolitan pizza chef. They can teach you how to make a Neapolitan pizza using approved ingredients and methods. They offer courses and certifications which are internationally recognized.

The AVPN was created to protect the reputation and integrity of Neapolitan pizza makers around the world. They offer certifications for individuals and for pizzerias that meet their high standards and can provide proof of their Neapolitan pizza status.

The AVPN has training courses that are for both professional and amateur homemade chefs. The training is 60 hours over nine days. The course is divided into 14 hours of theory and 46 hours of practicum in the kitchen. If making it all the way to Italy is not an option, they also offer online courses for amateur learners. 

Why Get a Pizza Certification?

If you want to take your Neopolitan pizza skills to the next level and pursue a pizza-making career, then certification is a great start. Certification will ensure you have the training and technical know-how. Depending on the certification course, most have an internship and hours of practicum included. 

Suppose you are interested in the pizza-maker knowledge but not concerned about having a Neopolitan certification. In that case, there are a lot of culinary schools and cooking classes that offer their students the opportunity to study pizza making.

What Types of Pizzaioli Training Courses Are There?

There are several different types of schools to learn pizza making skills. They vary from a few hours to several days. Some of the topics and themes for the classes are:

Most classes have a theory component and then hands-on hours where you get your hands floured up and ready to knead, stretch, and prepare the dough and experiment with classic toppings.

Where to Study / How to Become Certified?

Here are a few pizza schools for professionals and amateurs that have a reputation for excellence. They offer official certifications that are for a mix of different pizza styles.

In the USA

Tony Gemignani’s International School of Pizza In San Francisco, California

Famous pizza maker Tony Geminagni runs this excellent pizza school. They offer professional and amateur pizza classes. Anyone interested in a professional course must do a required phone interview before registering. The courses include a section on the house-made sausage and hand-pulled mozzarella.

Upcoming Courses:

  • Neapolitan and Classic Italian Style Pizza Combo Course 5 Day Certification
  • Home Chef courses 

North American Pizza and Culinary Academy Lisle, Illinois (outside of Chicago)

This fun pizza school offers professional and amateur classes. They even have kids workshops and host corporate team-building events. If you are looking for some exciting workshops and classes, they have you covered.

Upcoming Courses:

  • Pizza Certification Class – 5 day Class
  • 1 Day Class for the Amateur Baker
  • 3 Day Class for the Experienced Home Pizza Maker

Pizza University Beltsville, Maryland

World-renowned Enzo Coccia leads this school’s classes and workshops. They offer courses on opening and running a pizzeria and becoming the best you can be. Pizza University also has a fun pizza workshop where teams compete a la Top Chef for creative pizza variations.

Upcoming Courses: 

  • 3 Day Intensive Innovative Start Smart Class The Fundamentals of Opening and Operating a Pizzeria
  • Traditional Neopolitan Techniques in Wood Fired Ovens

Accademia Pizzaioli with 9 locations throughout the U.S.

The school boasts 140 locations all over the world and nine in the U.S. They even have a few online options to learn more about the pizza-making process.

Upcoming Courses:

  • Basic Pizza Maker 30 hours
  • Specialized Courses for Professional Pizza Makers: Gluten Free Crust / Roman Style Pan Pizza and Pizza en Pala

Goodfellas Pizza School New York, New York

This popular pizzeria offers classes in all aspects of making da pizzas. They understand the importance of the three key components of pizza and have a specific class for each one dough, sauce, and cheese making. In addition, they offer specialty courses to help students understand the business side of operating a pizzeria.

This class focuses on food cost, inventory control, par sheets waste/quality control, and training. In addition, the class has gourmet sauce training for specialty pizza development. This course covers the fundamentals of the business and the management side. 

Upcoming Courses:

  • Pizzaiolo Course with Certification 4 days
  • Dough 101
  • Gourmet Breads Made Easy
  • Cheese Making

We didn’t find any schools teaching about Detroit style, Minnesota style, or old school rectangle style. Maybe we should state some online courses? Let us know if you’d be interested!

Pizzaiolo Training In Italy

Accademia Italiana Chef    Florence,Italy

This traditional culinary school has two locations, one in Florence and one in Bologna. They offer pizza and pasta making courses for professionals and amateur chefs. The school works with several local hotels in both locations that provide discounts to students at the school.

Upcoming Courses:

  • Master of Italian Pizza and Breadmaking with Certification 2 weeks

Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners   Costigliole d’Asti, Italy

Do you want to learn how to craft pizza in a castle? Of course you do. The school is located in a small town in Northern Italy between Turin and Genoa. The school offers an elite culinary experience. The campus has a tasting room and wine cellar and an olive oil cellar. There is a cheese cave and a ham andsalami cave in addition to a chocolate laboratory. It really offers the ultimate Italian foodie experience and it’s in a castle.

Upcoming Courses:

  • Pizza Course with Certification 12 weeks (4 weeks theory&practice nine weeks internship)

Chef Silvio Cicchi Scuola di Pizza        Ascoli Piceno, Italy

Well-known Chef Silvio Cicchi teaches in-person and online pizza making courses. His in-person courses are in a small town in central Italy called Ascoli Piceno. The town has a deep-rooted history and with the13th-century Palazzo di Capitani del Popolo, a palace built on Roman ruins.

In this beautiful town, Chef Silvio teaches private one-on-one classes. He believes that individual learning is the only way to learn the art of pizza making. Chef Silvio goes over the theory and essentials of the dough, and then it’s time to get your hands working on the dough. 

Upcoming Courses:

  • Pizzaiolo Course with Certification 5 days

Scuola di Pizzaiolo with Fabio Cristiano   Napoli, Italy

If you speak Italian and want to learn pizza making in the heart of the city that created the pizza, then this is the school for you. The school won the Best Pizza Training in 2021 in the Voce di Napoli awards. Fabio is a famous pizza chef with three different courses to train future pizza chefs. His course is 10 percent theory and 90 percent action! He claims 90 percent of his students find work immediately after completing the course.

Upcoming Courses:

  • Professional Pizzaiolo 100 hour course with a Certification
  • Accelerated Professional Pizzaiolo 50 hour course with a Certification

Choosing a pizzaiolo course will depend on your pizza making goals and, of course, time and money. Learning Italian cooking in Italy may not be available for everyone. Luckily many of the schools offer online courses.

What to Do With Your New Pizza Skills

becoming a pizzaiolo
Photo by Inna Podolska on Unsplash

After completing a program with a pizzaiolo certification, you will be able to pursue a career in the restaurant industry as a recognized pro. You’ll be able to work in pizzerias all over the world like Lilys in Boston or Boludo in Minneapolis.

Or, if you choose to open your own pizzeria, you will have the knowledge and skills to succeed. Please let us know and we’ll come to review it on our travels!

The next step for home chefs and amateurs is to get your equipment and set up a home kitchen with all the required tools to show off your new awesome pizza-making skills.

A good pizza oven is the most important  item you will need to impress your friends and family with your pizza skills. And, of course, a pizza stone, pizza peel, and pizza cutter will be the essentials to make quality pizzas at home.

Once you have a home pizza kitchen set up, you can share your pizza expertise with your friends. You can even give your own pizza making workshops and share the art of pizza making with others. Your future pizzaiolo certification and pizzaiolo training will highly pay off in the long run.

And if you don’t want to commit to a professional course, you can always listen to pizza podcasts to improve your skills in meal prepping homemade pizza inside the comfort of your home.

One of our Favorites

A PREMIUM, PORTABLE FIRE AND STONE PIZZA OVEN – reaching high temperatures of over 932ºF to give you the ideal balance of thin base and perfectly puffed up, charred artisan crust – in just 60 seconds. READY TO GO – with inbuilt thermometer, retractable legs and detachable dual-fuel burners Roccbox is easy to transport and set up- just click the switch and start cooking!

Share With Other Pizza Lovers:

If you’re wondering which pizza oven to get and haven’t done too much yet, we recommend starting with the Solo Stove Pi! Affordable, portable, and stylish.

Related Pizza Posts

Related Pizza Categories


DK & Eliana

DK & Eliana

Thanks for reading about our homemade pizza journey! We're a young married couple who started making pizza at home on our wedding night and haven't looked back yet. We've learned over countless attempts of trial and error how to make the perfect pizza sauce, pizza dough, and exactly which pizza accessories to buy for your home setup...

FYI When you make a purchase or, sometimes, carry out some other action as direct result of clicking on a link at Homemade Pizza School, we will receive a small commission. Gratzie!

Recent Pizza Posts

How to Meal Prep Homemade Pizza

We love pizza in all its forms, but we also love convenience too, and sometimes we are short on time and making homemade pizza from

Homemade Vegan Pizza 101

While we are not vegan, we appreciate trying new things and have taken up the meatless Monday challenge. We don’t always do it on Mondays,

Blending a showstopping design with the convenience of cooking with gas, Ooni Koda 16 boasts a wide opening, large cordierite stone baking board and innovative L-shaped flame. Cook restaurant quality pizza, delicious flame-cooked steaks, fish, veggies and so much more.

Top Rated Product:

This no contact infrared thermometer is a must-have tool for home chefs looking to take their pizza-making to the next level. With its accurate and fast temperature readings, built-in laser light, and user-friendly design, it offers a range of useful features that make it a versatile and convenient option.

By far, the most affordable, albeit tiny, pizza “oven” on the market today. Sold at Uncommon Goods, this personal-sized pizza maker is perfect for children or picky eaters who only want their specific toppings. Note: only works with charcoal grills. Try it today!