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Career and Education Opportunities for Short Order Cooks in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Short order cooks can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area. The national trend for short order cooks sees this job pool growing by about 0.1% over the next eight years. In general, short order cooks prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time.

A person working as a short order cook can expect to earn about $9 per hour or $19,500 yearly on average in Pennsylvania and about $9 hourly or $19,260 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for short order 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. People working as short order cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: snack bar cook, deli cook , and grill attendant.

The Pittsburgh area is home to eighty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Pittsburgh where you can get a degree as a short order cook. The most common level of education for short order cooks is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a short order cook if you already have a high school diploma.


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

In general, short order cooks prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time. They also may take orders from customers and serve patrons at counters or tables.

Short order cooks clean food preparation equipment and counters or tables. They also perform simple food preparation tasks such as making sandwiches and brewing coffee. Equally important, short order cooks have to grill and garnish hamburgers or other meats such as steaks and chops. They are often called upon to formulate work on orders so that items served together are finished at the same time. Finally, short order cooks grill and fry foods such as french fries and pancakes.

Every day, short order cooks are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to understand what others are saying to them even in a noisy environment.

It is important for short order cooks to order supplies and stock them on shelves. They are often called upon to grill and fry foods such as french fries and pancakes. They also complete orders from steam tables, placing food on plates and serving patrons at tables or counters. They are sometimes expected to take orders from patrons and cook foods requiring short preparation times, in line with customer requirements. Somewhat less frequently, short order cooks are also expected to order supplies and stock them on shelves.

Short order cooks sometimes are asked to accept payments, and make change or write charge slips as needed. And finally, they sometimes have to accept payments, and make change or write charge slips as needed.

Like many other jobs, short order cooks must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Pittsburgh 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.
  • Counter Clerk. Serve food to diners at counter or from a steam table.
  • Dining Room Attendant. Facilitate food service. Clean tables, carry dirty dishes, replace soiled table linens; set tables; replenish supply of clean linens, silverware, and dishes; supply service bar with food, and serve water, butter, and coffee to patrons.
  • 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.
  • 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.


West Virginia Northern Community College - Wheeling, WV

West Virginia Northern Community College, 1704 Market St., Wheeling, WV 26003-3699. West Virginia Northern Community College is a small college located in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,924 students. West Virginia Northern Community College has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated one student 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania photo by Conk 9

Pittsburgh is located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It has a population of over 310,037, which has shrunk by 7.3% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Pittsburgh, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Pittsburgh cost $196,700 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-five new homes were built in Pittsburgh, up from one hundred seventeen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Pittsburgh are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 26.2% of Pittsburgh residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Pittsburgh is 7.8%, which is less than Pennsylvania's average of 8.4%.

The percentage of Pittsburgh residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 71.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Saint Pauls Cathedral, Saint Patrick Roman Cathlic Church and Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church are some of the churches located in Pittsburgh. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the United Methodist Church.

Pittsburgh is home to the Mount Washington Overlook and the Golden Triangle as well as Magee Playground and Kennard Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Shadyside Shopping Center and Allegheny Center Mall. Visitors to Pittsburgh can choose from Best Western University Center, Avalon Motel and Four Points By Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport for temporary stays in the area.