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Career and Education Opportunities for Short Order Cooks in Vancouver, Washington

Short order cooks can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Vancouver, Washington area. About 2,190 people are currently employed as short order cooks in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow 10% to about 2,400 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for short order cooks are expected to grow by about 0.1%. In general, short order cooks prepare and cook to order a variety of foods that require only a short preparation time.

Short order cooks earn about $10 hourly or $21,800 annually on average in Washington and about $9 per hour or $19,260 per year on average nationally. Earnings for short order cooks are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Cooking in Washington and not quite as good as general Cooking category earnings nationally. People working as short order cooks can fill a number of jobs, such as: prep cook , griddle attendant, and barbecue cook.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can study to be a short order cook, among forty-eight schools of higher education total in the Vancouver area. The most common level of education for short order cooks is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 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.
  • 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.


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, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

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.