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Career and Education Opportunities for Institutional Cooks in Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for institutional cooks. About 25,530 people are currently employed as institutional cooks in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 22% to 31,140 people employed. This is better than the national trend for institutional cooks, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.7% over the next eight years. Institutional cooks generally prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.

A person working as an institutional cook can expect to earn about $9 per hour or $19,040 per year on average in Texas and about $10 per hour or $22,210 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for institutional cooks are not quite as good as in the overall category of Cooking in Texas, and not quite as good as the overall Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: line cook, dietary aide, and food and nutrition services assistant.

The Fort Worth area is home to ninety-one schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Fort Worth where you can get a degree as an institutional cook. Institutional cooks usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so 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 Fort Worth 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 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Institutional Cook Training

Texas Woman's University - Denton, TX

Texas Woman's University, 304 Administration Dr, Denton, TX 76201. Texas Woman's University is a large university located in Denton, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 12,341 students and an admission rate of 56%. Texas Woman's University has a master's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management which graduated five students in 2008.

Tarrant County College District - Fort Worth, TX

Tarrant County College District, 1500 Houston St, Fort Worth, TX 76102-6599. Tarrant County College District is a large college located in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 39,596 students. Tarrant County College District has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Foodservice Systems Administration/Management.


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.


Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas photo by Chin tin tin

Fort Worth is situated in Tarrant County, Texas. It has a population of over 703,073, which has grown by 31.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Worth, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Worth are valued at $145,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, 3,790 new homes were constructed in Fort Worth, down from 5,669 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fort Worth are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 22.3% of Fort Worth residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Worth is 8.3%, which is greater than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Fort Worth residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Pentecostal Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal Water of Life Church and Petra Baptist Church are among the churches located in Fort Worth. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fort Worth is home to the Hurst Sewage Disposal and the Hart Spur as well as Trinity Valley School Softball Field and Circle Park. Shopping malls in the area include Overton Park Plaza Shopping Center, Ridgmar Town Square Shopping Center and Fair Oaks Shopping Center. Visitors to Fort Worth can choose from Azalea Plantation Bed & Breakfast, Central Motel and Best Western Fort Worth Inn for temporary stays in the area.