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Career and Education Opportunities for Fast Food Cooks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you want to be a fast food cook, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. Currently, 12,500 people work as fast food cooks in Pennsylvania. This is expected to grow by 1% to 12,650 people by 2016. 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. Fast food cooks generally prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus.

Fast food cooks earn about $7 per hour or $16,610 per year on average in Pennsylvania and about $8 hourly or $16,880 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Cooking, people working as fast food cooks in Pennsylvania earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Cooking nationally. People working as fast food cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: fryline attendant, crew trainer, and fry cook.

The Philadelphia area is home to 156 schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia 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

Immaculata University - Immaculata, PA

Immaculata University, 1145 King Rd, Immaculata, PA 19345-0702. Immaculata University is a small university located in Immaculata, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,855 students and an admission rate of 80%. Immaculata University has a bachelor's degree program in Institutional Food Workers.

Jna Institute of Culinary Arts - Philadelphia, PA

Jna Institute of Culinary Arts, 1212 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19146. Jna Institute of Culinary Arts is a small school located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 73 students. Jna Institute of Culinary Arts has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated three students in 2008.

Mercer County Community College - West Windsor, NJ

Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Rd, West Windsor, NJ 08550-3407. Mercer County Community College is a medium sized college located in West Windsor, New Jersey. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,120 students. Mercer County Community College has a less than one year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated one student 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: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photo by Apollo1758

Philadelphia is located in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 1,447,395, which has shrunk by 4.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Philadelphia, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Philadelphia cost $212,900 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, five hundred forty-five new homes were constructed in Philadelphia, down from five hundred ninety-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Philadelphia are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 32 minutes. More than 17.9% of Philadelphia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is lower than the state average.

The percentage of Philadelphia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 53.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Boulevard Church, Mount Herman Church and Saint Michael Mission Center are all churches located in Philadelphia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the American Baptist Churches in the USA and the Muslim Estimate.

Philadelphia is home to the Five Points and the Academy Gardens as well as Durham Park and Cloverly Park. Shopping malls in the area include Roosevelt Mall, Andorra Shopping Center and Red Lion Shopping Center. Visitors to Philadelphia can choose from Comfort Inn, Concordia Worldwide Hotel Reservations and Embassy Suites for temporary stays in the area.