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Career and Education Opportunities for Fast Food Cooks in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Fast food cooks can find many career and educational opportunities in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area. About 9,800 people are currently employed as fast food cooks in New Jersey. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 7% to 10,500 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for fast food cooks, which sees this job pool growing by about 7.5% over the next eight years. In general, fast food cooks prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus.

Fast food cooks earn approximately $8 hourly or $17,730 annually on average in New Jersey. Nationally they average about $8 per hour or $16,880 per year. Fast food cooks earn less than people working in the category of Cooking generally in New Jersey and less than people in the Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: pizza cook, cook, and crew trainer.

There are 298 schools of higher education in the Elizabeth area, including one within twenty-five miles of Elizabeth where you can get a degree to start your career as a fast food cook. Given that the most common education level for fast food cooks is less than a high school diploma, it will take only a short time to learn to be a fast food cook if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Elizabeth 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.


Career Academy of New York - New York, NY

Career Academy of New York, 154 W 14TH St 10th floor, New York, NY 10011-7307. Career Academy of New York is a small school located in New York, New York. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 449 students and an admission rate of 77%. Career Academy of New York has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated eighty-six 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.

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.


Elizabeth, New Jersey
Elizabeth, New Jersey photo by Cobber17

Elizabeth is situated in Union County, New Jersey. It has a population of over 124,755, which has grown by 3.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elizabeth, 140, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Elizabeth are valued at $321,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, eight new homes were constructed in Elizabeth, up from six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Elizabeth are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and other transportation, and support activities, and couriers. The average travel time to work is about 28 minutes. More than 12.1% of Elizabeth residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 4.2%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elizabeth is 12.4%, which is greater than New Jersey's average of 9.3%.

The percentage of Elizabeth residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 65.5%, is more than both the national and state average. First Pentecostal Church, Christ Episcopal Church and Alliance International Fellowship Church are some of the churches located in Elizabeth. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the American Baptist Churches in the USA.

Elizabeth is home to the North Elizabeth Station and the Julian Station as well as Kellogg Park and Jackson Park. Visitors to Elizabeth can choose from Hampton Inn Newark-Airport, Centro America Express and Hilton Newark Airport for temporary stays in the area.