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Career and Education Opportunities for Short Order Cooks in Aurora, Illinois

If you want to be a short order cook, the Aurora, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 7,720 people work as short order cooks in Illinois. This is expected to grow 10% to about 8,480 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for short order cooks, which sees this job pool growing by about 0.1% over the next eight years. In general, short order cooks prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time.

Short order cooks earn about $9 per hour or $19,190 annually on average in Illinois and about $9 per hour or $19,260 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for short order cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: pizza maker, cook, and barbecue cook.

The Aurora area is home to 175 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Aurora where you can get a degree as a short order cook. The most common level of education for short order cooks is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a short order cook if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Short Order Cook

Short Order Cook video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, short order cooks prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. They also may take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

Short order cooks clean food preparation equipment and counters or tables. They also perform simple food preparation tasks such as making sandwiches and brewing coffee. Equally important, short order cooks have to grill and garnish hamburgers or other meats such as steaks and chops. They are often called upon to formulate work on orders so that items served together are finished at the same time. Finally, short order cooks grill and fry foods such as french fries and pancakes.

Every day, short order cooks are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for short order cooks to order supplies and stock them on shelves. They are often called upon to grill and fry foods such as french fries and pancakes. They also complete orders from steam tables, placing food on plates and serving patrons at tables or counters. They are sometimes expected to take orders from patrons and cook foods requiring short preparation times, in line with customer requirements. Somewhat less frequently, short order cooks are also expected to order supplies and stock them on shelves.

Short order cooks sometimes are asked to accept payments, and make change or write charge slips as needed. And finally, they sometimes have to accept payments, and make change or write charge slips as needed.

Like many other jobs, short order cooks must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Aurora include:

  • Chef. Direct the preparation, seasoning, and cooking of salads, soups, or other foods. May plan and price menu items, order supplies, and keep records and accounts. May participate in cooking.
  • Counter Clerk. Serve food to diners at counter or from a steam table.
  • Dining Room Attendant. Facilitate food service. Clean tables, carry dirty dishes, replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, and dishes; supply service bar with food, and serve water, butter, and coffee to patrons.
  • Fast Food Cook. Prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus. Duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.
  • Food Service Aide. Perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.
  • Food and Beverage Supervisor. Supervise workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • Personal Chef. Prepare meals in private homes.
  • Restaurant Chef. Prepare, season, and cook soups, meats, or other foodstuffs in restaurants. May order supplies, keep records and accounts, price items on menu, or plan menu.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Short Order Cook Training

Elgin Community College - Elgin, IL

Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, IL 60123-7193. Elgin Community College is a medium sized college located in Elgin, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,821 students. Elgin Community College has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated fifty-eight students in 2008.

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated three students in 2008.

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago - Chicago, IL

The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, 350 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60654-1593. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago is a small school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,900 students and an admission rate of 48%. The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated seven students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Preventing Disease Transmission: A two-hour training module for employers and employees who, while on the job, may be exposed to blood or other body fluids that could cause infection.

For more information, see the American Red Cross website.

Quality Coffee Certification Program: The purpose of QCCP is to provide operators with sales tools and knowledge that will help them begin or enhance their own quality coffee program for their customers.

For more information, see the National Automatic Merchandising Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Aurora, Illinois

Aurora, Illinois
Aurora, Illinois photo by File Upload Bot

Aurora is situated in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 171,782, which has grown by 20.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are valued at $143,000 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-seven new homes were constructed in Aurora, down from three hundred thirty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 29.9% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 10.9%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church, Saint Therese Roman Catholic Church and Bethany of Fox Valley United Methodist Church are all churches located in Aurora. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Aurora is home to the Watkins Hall and the Landmark Industrial Park as well as North River Street Park and O'Donnell Park. Shopping centers in the area include Yorkshire Shopping Center, Village Mart Shopping Center and Fox Valley Mall. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Comfort Suites Aurora, Galena Hotel and Comfort Inn for temporary stays in the area.