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Career and Education Opportunities for Waiters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

For those living in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, there are many career and education opportunities for waiters. About 96,700 people are currently employed as waiters in Pennsylvania. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 7% to 103,100 people employed. This is better than the national trend for waiters, which sees this job pool growing by about 6.4% over the next eight years. Waiters generally take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

Waiters earn about $7 per hour or $16,260 annually on average in Pennsylvania and about $8 hourly or $16,660 annually on average nationally. Incomes for waiters are not quite as good as in the overall category of Service in Pennsylvania, and not quite as good as the overall Service category nationally. Waiters work in a variety of jobs, including: sommelier, buffet waiter/waitress, and room service waiter.

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 waiter. Given that the most common education level for waiters is a high school diploma or GED, it will take only a short time to learn to be a waiter if you already have a high school diploma.


Waiter video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, waiters take orders and serve food and beverages to patrons at tables in dining establishment.

Waiters check with patrons to insure that they are enjoying their meals and take action to fix any problems. They also remove dishes and glasses from tables or counters, and take them to kitchen for cleaning. Equally important, waiters have to stock service areas with supplies such as coffee and linens. They are often called upon to clean tables or counters after customers have finished dining. They are expected to fill salt and napkin containers. Finally, waiters ready hot and mixed drinks for customers, and chill bottles of wine.

Every day, waiters are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they speak clearly.

It is important for waiters to take orders from customers for food or beverages. They are often called upon to garnish and decorate dishes in preparation for serving. They also write customers' food orders on order slips or enter orders into computers for transmittal to kitchen staff. They are sometimes expected to describe and recommend wines to patrons. Somewhat less frequently, waiters are also expected to perform food preparation duties such as preparing salads and cold dishes, portioning desserts, and brewing coffee.

Waiters sometimes are asked to explain how various menu items are prepared, describing ingredients and cooking methods. and escort patrons to their tables. And finally, they sometimes have to bring wine selections to tables with appropriate glasses, and pour the wines for patrons.

Like many other jobs, waiters must have strong self control in the face of challenging situations and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Pittsburgh include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Host Coordinator. Welcome patrons, seat them at tables or in lounge, and help ensure quality of facilities and service.


Westmoreland County Community College - Youngwood, PA

Westmoreland County Community College, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA 15697-1895. Westmoreland County Community College is a medium sized college located in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,512 students. Westmoreland County Community College has a less than one year program in Food Service, Waiter/Waitress, & Dining Room Management/Manager 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.

ServSafe Alcohol: The ServSafe Alcohol program outlines effective responsible alcohol service practices for all front-of-the-house staff, including bartenders, waiters, hosts, busers, security and valets.

For more information, see the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation 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.