Baer studied with Dr. Gary Bird at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He completed his bachelor of music degree with Ronald Bishop at the Cleveland Institute of Music, and has done graduate work at the University of Southern California, Cleveland Institute of Music, and California State University, Long Beach, where he studied with Tommy Johnson. While in Long Beach, Baer taught at California State University, where he also directed the university tuba ensemble and the brass choir. In Milwaukee, Baer was adjunct professor of tuba and euphonium at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and director of the Tuba-Euphonium Ensemble. Baer serves on the faculty of the Bard College Conservatory of Music in upstate New York, the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music in New York City, as well as the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey.