Career and Education Opportunities for Food Service Aides in Vancouver, Washington
There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for food service aides in the Vancouver, Washington area. About 12,810 people are currently employed as food service aides in Washington. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 10% to about 14,060 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for food service aides are expected to grow by about 4.2%. Food service aides generally perform a variety of food preparation duties other than cooking, such as preparing cold foods and shellfish, slicing meat, and brewing coffee or tea.
Income for food service aides is about $10 per hour or $21,520 annually on average in Washington. Nationally, their income is about $8 hourly or $18,630 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Preparation, people working as food service aides in Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Preparation nationally. Food service aides work in a variety of jobs, including: food tray assembler, pantry cook, and kitchen runner.
There are forty-eight schools of higher education in the Vancouver area, including one within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree to start your career as a food service aide. The most common level of education for food service aides is less than a high school diploma. It will take only a short time to learn to be a food service aide if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Food Service Aide
In general, food service aides 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 service aides clean work areas and silverware. They also store food in designated containers and storage areas to inhibit spoilage. Equally important, food service aides have to inform supervisors when supplies are getting low or equipment is not working properly. They are often called upon to carry food supplies and utensils to and from storage and work areas. They are expected to portion and wrap the food, or place it directly on plates for service to customers. Finally, food service aides weigh or measure ingredients.
Every day, food service aides 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 food service aides to receive and store food supplies and utensils in refrigerators and other storage areas. They are often called upon to assist cooks and kitchen staff with various tasks as needed, and furnish cooks with needed items. They also use manual or electric appliances to clean and trim foods. They are sometimes expected to package take-out foods or serve food to patrons. Somewhat less frequently, food service aides are also expected to mix ingredients for green salads, molded fruit salads and pasta salads.
Food service aides sometimes are asked to stir and strain soups and sauces. They also have to be able to distribute food to waiters and waitresses to serve to patrons and stock cupboards and refrigerators, and tend salad bars and buffet meals. And finally, they sometimes have to cut, slice or grind meat, poultry, and seafood to ready for cooking.
Like many other jobs, food service aides must be reliable and have strong self control in the face of challenging situations.
Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Vancouver include:
- 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.
- Institutional Cook. Prepare and cook large quantities of food for institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or cafeterias.
- 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: Food Service Aide 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.
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.