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USA Careers: Waiters and Waitresses

Waiters and Waitresses
Waiters and waitresses serve food to customers.

Quick Facts: Waiters and Waitresses

2012 Median Pay
$18,540 per year
$8.92 per hour

Entry-Level Education
Less than high school

Work Experience in a Related Occupation
None

On-the-job Training
Short-term on-the-job training

Number of Jobs, 2012
2,362,200

Job Outlook, 2012-22
6% (Slower than average)

Employment Change, 2012-22
131,800

What Waiters and Waitresses Do
Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

Work Environment
Waiters and waitresses work in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other food-serving and drinking establishments. During busy hours, they are under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently. About half worked part time in 2012. This often includes early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays.

How to Become a Waiter or Waitress
Most waiter and waitress jobs are at the entry level, and workers learn their skills through short-term on-the-job training. No formal education is required.

Pay
The median hourly wage (including tips) for waiters and waitresses was $8.92 in May 2012.

Job Outlook
Employment of waiters and waitresses is projected to grow 6 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities are expected to be very good because of the many workers who leave their jobs each year. Candidates seeking employment at upscale restaurants should face strong competition for jobs.

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