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Career and Education Opportunities for Fast Food Cooks in Burlington, Vermont

Fast food cook career and educational opportunities abound in Burlington, Vermont. There are currently 1,110 working fast food cooks in Vermont; this should grow 3% to 1,140 working fast food cooks in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for fast food cooks are expected to grow by about 7.5%. In general, fast food cooks prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus.

Fast food cooks earn about $9 per hour or $19,520 per year on average in Vermont and about $8 hourly or $16,880 per year on average nationally. Fast food cooks earn less than people working in the category of Cooking generally in Vermont and less than people in the Cooking category nationally. People working as fast food cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: crew person, specialty cook, and restaurant worker.

There are seventeen schools of higher education in the Burlington area, including one within twenty-five miles of Burlington where you can get a degree to start your career as a fast food cook. Fast food cooks usually hold less than a high school diploma, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a fast food cook if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Burlington 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.


New England Culinary Institute at Essex - Essex Junction, VT

New England Culinary Institute at Essex, 5 Franklin Street, Essex Junction, VT 05452. New England Culinary Institute at Essex is a small school located in Essex Junction, Vermont. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 105 students. New England Culinary Institute at Essex has a bachelor's degree program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated fifteen students 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.


Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, Vermont photo by Avala

Burlington is situated in Chittenden County, Vermont. It has a population of over 38,897. The cost of living index in Burlington, 102, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Burlington cost $152,400 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, five new homes were constructed in Burlington, down from eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Burlington are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 42.0% of Burlington residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 15.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Burlington is 5.2%, which is less than Vermont's average of 5.9%. About 20.0% of Burlington's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Burlington residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Saint Mark Church, Champlain Valley Baptist Church and Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Burlington. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Burlington is home to the South Breakwater Light and the Vermont State Craft Center Shelburne Farms as well as Ethan Allen Park and Head of Church Street Historic District. Shopping malls in the area include Church Street Marketplace Shopping Center, North Avenue Shopping Center and Burlington Square Shopping Center. Visitors to Burlington can choose from Holiday Inn, Radisson Hotel Burlington and Champlain Inn for temporary stays in the area.