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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you want to be an institutional cook, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 18,700 jobs for institutional cooks in Pennsylvania and this is projected to grow 3% to 19,350 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for institutional cooks, which 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.

The income of an institutional cook is about $11 hourly or $23,640 annually on average in Pennsylvania. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $10 per hour or $22,210 per year on average. Incomes for institutional cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Pennsylvania, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Institutional cooks work in a variety of jobs, including: dietary aide, food and nutrition services assistant, and special diet cook.

There are six schools within twenty-five miles of Philadelphia where you can study to be an institutional cook, among 156 schools of higher education total in the Philadelphia area. 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 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.
  • 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

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington - Newark, DE

Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington, 400 Stanton-Christiana Rd, Newark, DE 19702. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington is a medium sized college located in Newark, Delaware. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,460 students. Delaware Technical and Community College-Stanton-Wilmington has an associate's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management.

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.

Bucks County Community College - Newtown, PA

Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Rd, Newtown, PA 18940-4106. Bucks County Community College is a large college located in Newtown, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,260 students. Bucks County Community College has a less than one year program in Culinary Arts and Related Services, Other Specialties which graduated two students in 2008.

Delaware Valley College - Doylestown, PA

Delaware Valley College, 700 E Butler Ave, Doylestown, PA 18901-2697. Delaware Valley College is a small college located in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,138 students and an admission rate of 71%. Delaware Valley College has an associate's degree program in Culinary Arts and Related Services, Other Specialties.

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.

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.

CERTIFICATIONS

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: 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.