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Career and Education Opportunities for Fast Food Cooks in Joliet, Illinois

There are many career and education opportunities for fast food cooks in the Joliet, Illinois area. There are currently 29,690 working fast food cooks in Illinois; this should grow by 14% to about 33,690 working fast food cooks in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for fast food cooks, which sees this job pool growing by about 7.5% over the next eight years. Fast food cooks generally prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus.

Fast food cooks earn approximately $8 hourly or $16,870 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $8 per hour or $16,880 per year. Incomes for fast food 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. People working as fast food cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: pizza chef, crew trainer, and grill cook.

The Joliet area is home to 132 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Joliet where you can get a degree as a fast food cook. Given that the most common education level for fast food cooks is less than a high school diploma, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a fast food cook if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fast Food Cook

Fast Food Cook video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, fast food cooks prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus. They also duties of the cooks are limited to preparation of a few basic items and normally involve operating large-volume single-purpose cooking equipment.

Fast food cooks clean food preparation areas and utensils. They also clean and restock workstations and display cases. Equally important, fast food cooks have to maintain sanitation and safety standards in work areas. They are often called upon to verify that prepared food meets requirements for quality and quantity. Finally, fast food cooks operate large-volume cooking equipment such as grills, deep-fat fryers, or griddles.

Every day, fast food cooks are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for fast food cooks to cook the exact number of items ordered by each customer, working on several different orders simultaneously. They are often called upon to measure ingredients required for specific food items being prepared. They also read food order slips or receive verbal instructions as to food required by patron, and ready and cook food in line with instructions. They are sometimes expected to cook and package batches of food. Somewhat less frequently, fast food cooks are also expected to schedule efforts and equipment use with managers, using data related to daily menus to to direct cooking times.

And finally, they sometimes have to cook and package batches of food.

Like many other jobs, fast food cooks must be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly and want to innovate to meet new challenges.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Joliet 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.
  • 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.
  • Short Order Cook. Prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. May take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fast Food Cook Training

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: Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois
Joliet, Illinois photo by Joliet82

Joliet is situated in Will County, Illinois. It has a population of over 146,125, which has grown by 37.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Joliet, 100, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Joliet are priced at $172,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-four new homes were constructed in Joliet, down from seven hundred sixty-nine the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Joliet are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, public administration, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 29 minutes. More than 18.6% of Joliet residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 5.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Joliet is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Joliet residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.9%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. All Nation Church of God in Christ, All Saints Greek Orthodox Church and Holy Cross Catholic Church are all churches located in Joliet. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Joliet is home to the Will County Courthouse and the Timber Ridge Business Park as well as Joliet East Side Historic District and Rock Run County Forest Preserve. Shopping centers in the area include Joliet Mall Shopping Center, Caton Crossing Town Square Shopping Center and Twin Oaks Place Shopping Center. Visitors to Joliet can choose from Great Escapes Travel, Hampton Inn Joliet/I-80- IL and Bel-Air Motel for temporary stays in the area.