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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Service Aides in Naperville, Illinois

Food service aides can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Naperville, Illinois area. About 47,690 people are currently employed as food service aides in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 20% to about 56,980 people employed. This is better than the national trend for food service aides, which sees this job pool growing by about 4.2% over the next eight years. Food service aides generally 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 service aides earn approximately $9 hourly or $18,710 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally they average about $8 per hour or $18,630 per year. Incomes for food service aides are better than in the overall category of Preparation in Illinois, and better than the overall Preparation category nationally. Jobs in this field include: sandwich maker, kitchen worker, and chicken and fish butcher.

The Naperville area is home to 166 schools of higher education, including four within twenty-five miles of Naperville where you can get a degree as a food service aide. Given that the most common education level for food service aides is less than a high school diploma, it will take only a short time to learn to be a food service aide if you already have a high school diploma.


Food Service Aide video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, food service aides 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 service aides clean work areas and silverware. They also store food in designated containers and storage areas to inhibit spoilage. Equally important, food service aides have to inform supervisors when supplies are getting low or equipment is not working properly. They are often called upon to carry food supplies and utensils to and from storage and work areas. They are expected to portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to customers. Finally, food service aides weigh or measure ingredients.

Every day, food service aides 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 food service aides to receive and store food supplies and utensils in refrigerators and other storage areas. They are often called upon to assist cooks and kitchen staff with various tasks as needed, and furnish cooks with needed items. They also use manual or electric appliances to clean and trim foods. They are sometimes expected to package take-out foods or serve food to patrons. Somewhat less frequently, food service aides are also expected to mix ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads and pasta salads.

Food service aides sometimes are asked to stir and strain soups and sauces. They also have to be able to distribute food to waiters and waitresses to serve to patrons and stock cupboards and refrigerators, and tend salad bars and buffet meals. And finally, they sometimes have to cut, slice or grind meat, poultry, and seafood to ready for cooking.

Like many other jobs, food service aides must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Naperville include:

  • 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.
  • Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
  • 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.
  • Waiter. Take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.


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.

Saint Augustine College - Chicago, IL

Saint Augustine College, 1333-45 W Argyle, Chicago, IL 60640-3593. Saint Augustine College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,275 students. Saint Augustine College has a one to two year program in Cooking and Related Culinary Arts which graduated forty-eight 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.


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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Naperville, Illinois

Naperville, Illinois
Naperville, Illinois photo by JohnDBuell

Naperville is located in Dupage County, Illinois. It has a population of over 143,117, which has grown by 11.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Naperville, 107, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Naperville are valued at $401,600 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-four new homes were built in Naperville, down from two hundred eighty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Naperville are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 33 minutes. More than 60.6% of Naperville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 23.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Naperville is 8.1%, which is less than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Naperville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, Saint Thomas The Apostle Church and Bethany Church are some of the churches located in Naperville. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Naperville is home to the High Grove Business Park and the Spring Brook Golf Course as well as Du Page River Park and Winding Creek Park. Shopping malls in the area include Pebblewood Plaza Shopping Center, Cress Creek Square Shopping Center and Cress Creek Shopping Center. Visitors to Naperville can choose from Fairfield Inn by Marriott, EXEL Inns of Chicago and Country Inn Suites Naperville for temporary stays in the area.