Career and Education Opportunities for Fast Food Cooks in Vancouver, Washington
Fast food cooks can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Vancouver, Washington area. There are currently 5,760 jobs for fast food cooks in Washington and this is projected to grow 17% to about 6,740 jobs by 2016. This is better than the national trend for fast food cooks, which sees this job pool growing by about 7.5% over the next eight years. In general, fast food cooks prepare and cook food in fast food restaurants with limited menus.
Fast food cooks earn approximately $9 per hour or $18,830 annually on average in Washington. Nationally they average about $8 per hour or $16,880 yearly. Fast food cooks earn less than people working in the category of Cooking generally in Washington and less than people in the Cooking category nationally. Jobs in this field include: fry cook, cook, and pizza maker.
The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree as a fast food cook. Given that the most common education level for fast food cooks is less than a high school diploma, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a fast food cook if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Fast Food Cook
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 Vancouver 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.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Fast Food Cook Training
Portland Community College - Portland, OR
Portland Community College, 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219-7132. Portland Community College is a large college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,657 students. Portland Community College has a one to two year program in Food Preparation/Professional Cooking/Kitchen Assistant which graduated eight 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.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Vancouver is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.
The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.