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Careers in the USA: Cooks

Cooks prepare a wide range of dishes.

Quick Facts: Cooks

2012 Median Pay
$20,550 per year
$9.88 per hour

Entry-Level Education
See How to Become One

Work Experience in a Related Occupation
See How to Become One

On-the-job Training
See How to Become One

Number of Jobs, 2012

Job Outlook, 2012-22
10% (As fast as average)

Employment Change, 2012-22

What Cooks Do
Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods. This may include soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.

Work Environment
Cooks work in restaurants, schools, hospitals, private households, and other places where food is served. They often work early mornings, late evenings, holidays, and weekends.

How to Become a Cook
Most cooks learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training and related work experience. Although no formal education is required, some restaurant cooks and private household cooks attend culinary school.

The median hourly wage for cooks was $9.88 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of cooks is projected to grow 10 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job opportunities will result from the combination of employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. Those seeking full-time positions at upscale restaurants, where the pay is often greater, should expect strong competition for jobs.

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