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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Overland Park, Kansas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for institutional cooks in the Overland Park, Kansas area. The national trend for institutional cooks sees this job pool growing by about 9.7% over the next eight years. In general, institutional cooks prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Institutional cooks earn about $9 per hour or $19,900 per year on average in Kansas and about $10 hourly or $22,210 annually on average nationally. Earnings for institutional cooks are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Cooking in Kansas and not quite as good as general Cooking category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: baker, cafeteria manager, and cafeteria worker.

There are sixty-one schools of higher education in the Overland Park area, including one within twenty-five miles of Overland Park where you can get a degree to start your career as an institutional cook. The most common level of education for institutional cooks is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be an institutional cook if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Institutional Cook

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

In general, institutional cooks prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Institutional cooks cook foodstuffs in line with menus, special dietary or nutritional restrictions, or numbers of portions to be served. They also clean and inspect galley equipment and work areas to insure cleanliness and functional operation. Equally important, institutional cooks have to apportion and serve food to facility residents or customers. They are often called upon to wash pots and other cooking equipment. Finally, institutional cooks clean and cook meat, fish, or poultry.

Every day, institutional cooks are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for institutional cooks to train new employees. They are often called upon to bake breads and other pastries. They also compile and maintain records of food use and expenditures. They are sometimes expected to direct efforts of one or more staff who help in preparing and serving meals. Somewhat less frequently, institutional cooks are also expected to formulate menus that are varied and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.

Institutional cooks sometimes are asked to decide on meal prices, on the basis of calculations of ingredient prices. They also have to be able to monitor menus and spending to insure that meals are prepared economically And finally, they sometimes have to formulate menus that are varied and appetizing, taking advantage of foods in season and local availability.

Like many other jobs, institutional cooks must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Overland Park 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Institutional Cook Training

Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center - Kansas City, KS

Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center, 2220 N 59th St, Kansas City, KS 66104-2821. Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center is a small college located in Kansas City, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 598 students. Kansas City Kansas Community College Technical Education Center has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated eight students in 2008.


Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional: A key purpose of the Certified Correctional Foodservice Professional certification is to develop the highest standards in.

For more information, see the American Correctional Food Service Association website.

Certified Culinarian: An entry level culinarian professional within a commercial foodservice operation.

For more information, see the American Culinary Federation, Inc. website.

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.

School Nutrition Specialist: The Credentialing Program of the School Nutrition Association was created to enhance the professional image of school nutrition professionals.

For more information, see the School Nutrition Association website.


Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas photo by Americasroof

Overland Park is located in Johnson County, Kansas. It has a population of over 171,231, which has grown by 14.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Overland Park, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Overland Park are valued at $408,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-four new homes were constructed in Overland Park, down from three hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Overland Park are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and broadcasting and telecommunications. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 52.1% of Overland Park residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Overland Park is 6.7%, which is greater than Kansas's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Overland Park residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Christ Church, Adventist Church and Atonement Church are among the churches located in Overland Park. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Overland Park is home to the Windmill Square and the Westbrook Country Club. Shopping centers in the area include Cherokee Hills Shopping Center, Cherokee South Shopping Center and Trail West Shopping Center. Visitors to Overland Park can choose from Hampton Inn Overland Park- KS, Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites and Pear Tree Inn by Drury for temporary stays in the area.