Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.

Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Jackson, Mississippi

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for institutional cooks in the Jackson, Mississippi area. About 8,020 people are currently employed as institutional cooks in Mississippi. By 2016, this is expected to grow 17% to about 9,410 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for institutional cooks are expected to grow by about 9.7%. In general, institutional cooks prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

Income for institutional cooks is about $8 per hour or $16,970 annually on average in Mississippi. Nationally, their income is about $10 per hour or $22,210 annually. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as institutional cooks in Mississippi earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. Jobs in this field include: basket lunch preparer, dietary aide, and school cafeteria cook.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Jackson area, including one within twenty-five miles of Jackson 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. It will take only a short time to learn 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 Jackson 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.
  • 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

Hinds Community College - Raymond, MS

Hinds Community College, 501 East Main Street, Raymond, MS 39154. Hinds Community College is a large college located in Raymond, Mississippi. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,398 students. Hinds Community College has 2 areas of study related to Institutional Cook. They are:

  • Cooking and Related Culinary Arts, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated one and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Institutional Food Workers, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated seven and one students respectively 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Mississippi photo by Yassie

Jackson is situated in Hinds County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 173,861, which has shrunk by 5.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Jackson, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Jackson cost $101,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred fifty-six new homes were built in Jackson, up from two hundred twenty-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Jackson are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 27.1% of Jackson residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Jackson is 9.2%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Jackson residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Bibleway Baptist Church, Saint Johns Missionary Baptist Church and Saint John Deliverance Temple Number 2 are some of the churches located in Jackson. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Jackson is home to the Riverhills Country Club and the Colonial Country Club as well as Smith-Wills Stadium and Lefleurs Bluff State Park. Shopping malls in the area include North Terry Road Shopping Center, Northside Shopping Center and Northtown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Jackson can choose from Days Inn-Coliseum, Econo Lodge and Regal Sales Office for temporary stays in the area.