Becoming a Cook via Online Education?

At the very least, online education can help you lay a foundation and/or open up alternate career paths. Penn Foster Career School, one of the highest ranking online schools, is a US school (accredited) offering cooking courses to train individuals to become top-notch chefs, cooks, sous chefs, line cooks, line servers, etc. Currently, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 24,510 people employed as dietetic technicians alone in America, and their average annual salary is $28,530. Chefs and head cooks make on average $44,240 per year and there are about 94,300 of them employed today. Colleges and universities like Penn Foster Career School that provide online education are successfully launching workers into this field.

Typical Work Locations for a Cook
  • Hotel
  • Restaurant
  • Airport
  • Railway
  • Country Club
  • Hospital
  • Nursing Home
  • School
  • Cafeteria
  • Resort
Potential Advantages and Benefits of Working as a Cook
  • Work with a lot of interesting people
  • High profile position
  • Prepare high quality meals
  • Opportunity to travel
  • Serve the public on a daily basis
  • Fast paced work environment
  • Meet interesting people
  • Use creativity
  • Understand and learn about different cultures
  • Experiment with different cuisines
Potential Drawbacks
  • Requires high level of dexterity and coordination
  • Fast paced work environment
  • Deal with customer complaints
  • Stay current on cooking methods
  • Use potentially dangerous kitchen equipment
  • Inspect and clean food preparation areas
  • Take responsibility for customer satisfaction
  • Ability to multi-task required
  • Making frequent changes for complex orders
  • Plan meals in advance
Related Professions to Consider
  • Line Cook
  • Banquet Manager
  • Dietetic Technician
  • Server
  • Executive Chef
  • Pastry Baker
  • Serving Supervisor
  • Cashier
  • Sous Chef
  • Counter Clerk
Possible Interview Questions When Applying to be a Cook
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Have your ideas or thoughts ever been implemented by your immediate senior chef?
  • How do you handle conflict in the workplace?
  • Do you have a culinary specialty?
  • What interests you about cuisine?
  • How have your past experiences prepared you for this position?
  • How would you like to grow professionally?
  • What is your educational background?
  • What do you think it takes to be successful in a kitchen?
  • Why do you want to work here?
Common Collaborating Professions
  • Executive Chef
  • Sous Chef
  • Busser
  • Dishwasher
  • Line Cook
  • Food Scientist
  • General Manager
  • Server
  • Farmer
  • Janitor
Cook Training books Cook (More) Popular books Potential Companies to Work For Common College Majors
  • Food Preparation
  • Culinary Arts
  • Hospitality Administration and Management
  • Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Foods Nutrition and Wellness Studies
  • Nutrition Sciences
  • Business Administration and Management
  • International Business
  • Public Health
  • Safety and Sanitation

Cook Salary Information

Category: Dietetic technicians

Total # Employed in the US 24,510
Average Hourly Wage: $13.72/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$8.52 $10.13 $12.98 $16.69 $20.07
Average Yearly Salary $28,530
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$17,720 $21,070 $26,990 $34,710 $41,760
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
2.5% 27.8% 34.1% 19.0% 14.1% 1.4% 1.1%
Dietetic technicians — WAGES BY STATE, SORTED BY SALARY
STATEAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Nebraska $18.07/hr $37,580
Mississippi $17.85/hr $37,130
South Carolina $17.5/hr $36,400
Delaware $16.98/hr $35,310
Oklahoma $16.59/hr $34,500
Virginia $16.33/hr $33,960
New York $16.21/hr $33,720
North Carolina $15.69/hr $32,640
Colorado $15.42/hr $32,070
North Dakota $15.42/hr $32,080
Hawaii $14.7/hr $30,580
Montana $13.93/hr $28,960
Indiana $13.84/hr $28,780
Michigan $13.76/hr $28,610
Utah $13.72/hr $28,540
Missouri $13.64/hr $28,370
New Jersey $13.33/hr $27,740
Alabama $13.23/hr $27,510
Kansas $13.11/hr $27,270
District of Columbia $13.06/hr $27,160
New Hampshire $12.93/hr $26,880
Puerto Rico $12.86/hr $26,740
Iowa $12.52/hr $26,040
Guam $12.36/hr $25,710
Oregon $12.33/hr $25,650
Kentucky $12.15/hr $25,260
Ohio $12.12/hr $25,220
New Mexico $12.03/hr $25,020
Maryland $11.94/hr $24,840
Wyoming $11.76/hr $24,470
Tennessee $11.64/hr $24,200
California $11.59/hr $24,110
Idaho $11.46/hr $23,840
Washington $11.36/hr $23,620
South Dakota $11.36/hr $23,630
Pennsylvania $11.33/hr $23,560
Wisconsin $11.29/hr $23,490
Arkansas $11.08/hr $23,050
Massachusetts $10.96/hr $22,800
Louisiana $10.77/hr $22,400
Connecticut $10.76/hr $22,380
Maine $10.74/hr $22,340
Nevada $10.37/hr $21,560


Category: Chefs and head cooks

Total # Employed in the US 94,300
Average Hourly Wage: $21.27/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$10.99 $14.46 $19.27 $25.73 $33.44
Average Yearly Salary $44,240
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$22,860 $30,080 $40,090 $53,510 $69,560
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
18.4% 32.3% 19.2% 17.0% 11.2% 1.4% 0.6%
Chefs and head cooks — WAGES BY STATE, SORTED BY SALARY
STATEAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
North Dakota $28.42/hr $59,120
Virginia $26.98/hr $56,120
Delaware $26.19/hr $54,480
District of Columbia $25.02/hr $52,040
Indiana $23.96/hr $49,830
Hawaii $23.37/hr $48,610
Colorado $23.2/hr $48,260
Guam $22.53/hr $46,860
Alaska $22.35/hr $46,490
Missouri $22.23/hr $46,230
New York $21.94/hr $45,630
Connecticut $21.36/hr $44,440
Mississippi $21.22/hr $44,130
New Hampshire $21.02/hr $43,720
South Carolina $20.95/hr $43,570
Nebraska $20.76/hr $43,170
Puerto Rico $20.67/hr $43,000
Utah $20.3/hr $42,230
Montana $19.99/hr $41,570
Michigan $19.93/hr $41,450
Arkansas $19.64/hr $40,850
Tennessee $19.61/hr $40,800
Maryland $19.26/hr $40,060
Alabama $19.18/hr $39,900
Wyoming $19.12/hr $39,760
Kentucky $19.05/hr $39,630
North Carolina $18.93/hr $39,370
Oregon $18.5/hr $38,470
Kansas $18.45/hr $38,380
Washington $18.41/hr $38,290
Massachusetts $18.3/hr $38,070
New Jersey $18.21/hr $37,870
Louisiana $17.86/hr $37,150
Maine $17.58/hr $36,560
South Dakota $17.19/hr $35,750
Wisconsin $16.95/hr $35,260
Ohio $16.95/hr $35,260
West Virginia $16.82/hr $34,980
Idaho $16.69/hr $34,720
New Mexico $16.61/hr $34,550
Nevada $16.1/hr $33,490
Pennsylvania $14.99/hr $31,170
Iowa $12.05/hr $25,060


Category: Cooks, fast food

Total # Employed in the US 539,520
Average Hourly Wage: $8.76/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$7.19 $7.68 $8.52 $9.37 $10.94
Average Yearly Salary $18,230
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$14,960 $15,980 $17,720 $19,490 $22,760
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
33.4% 43.0% 14.5% 4.2% 4.0% 0.5% 0.2%
Cooks, fast food — WAGES BY STATE, SORTED BY SALARY
STATEAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Florida $10.44/hr $21,720
Puerto Rico $10.13/hr $21,070
Delaware $10.05/hr $20,910
Missouri $9.99/hr $20,790
Indiana $9.77/hr $20,320
Mississippi $9.76/hr $20,310
District of Columbia $9.61/hr $19,990
Virginia $9.5/hr $19,760
North Dakota $9.44/hr $19,640
Tennessee $9.42/hr $19,590
Oklahoma $9.37/hr $19,480
North Carolina $9.25/hr $19,240
Colorado $9.23/hr $19,190
Utah $9.23/hr $19,190
New Jersey $8.95/hr $18,620
Pennsylvania $8.94/hr $18,590
Alaska $8.93/hr $18,580
Kansas $8.92/hr $18,560
New York $8.9/hr $18,520
Arkansas $8.85/hr $18,410
South Carolina $8.76/hr $18,220
Idaho $8.76/hr $18,220
Montana $8.73/hr $18,160
Ohio $8.7/hr $18,100
Connecticut $8.67/hr $18,030
Hawaii $8.65/hr $17,990
Michigan $8.54/hr $17,760
Guam $8.49/hr $17,660
Oregon $8.49/hr $17,650
New Hampshire $8.37/hr $17,410
West Virginia $8.35/hr $17,360
Wyoming $8.25/hr $17,170
New Mexico $8.25/hr $17,150
Nebraska $8.22/hr $17,110
Iowa $8.2/hr $17,050
Kentucky $8.17/hr $17,000
Washington $8.16/hr $16,960
Nevada $8.15/hr $16,960
Louisiana $8.15/hr $16,960
South Dakota $8.06/hr $16,770
Maine $8.04/hr $16,730
Wisconsin $7.87/hr $16,380
Maryland $7.85/hr $16,340
Alabama $7.84/hr $16,310
Massachusetts $7.77/hr $16,160
California $7.76/hr $16,130


Category: Cooks, institution and cafeteria

Total # Employed in the US 383,540
Average Hourly Wage: $11.48/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$7.6 $8.8 $10.88 $13.53 $16.36
Average Yearly Salary $23,870
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$15,820 $18,310 $22,620 $28,130 $34,030
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
33.4% 43.0% 14.5% 4.2% 4.0% 0.5% 0.2%
Cooks, institution and cafeteria — WAGES BY STATE, SORTED BY SALARY
STATEAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Alaska $16.84/hr $35,030
Indiana $16.35/hr $34,010
Virginia $15.67/hr $32,590
Delaware $15.37/hr $31,970
Missouri $14.97/hr $31,130
Oklahoma $14.18/hr $29,490
New York $14.11/hr $29,350
Florida $14.01/hr $29,140
Colorado $14/hr $29,130
Mississippi $13.63/hr $28,350
North Dakota $13.55/hr $28,190
District of Columbia $13.54/hr $28,160
Connecticut $13.25/hr $27,560
North Carolina $13.17/hr $27,390
Nebraska $13.01/hr $27,050
Puerto Rico $12.79/hr $26,610
Montana $12.38/hr $25,740
Michigan $12.33/hr $25,650
South Carolina $12.21/hr $25,390
Tennessee $12.15/hr $25,260
Arkansas $12.11/hr $25,190
Utah $12.1/hr $25,160
Hawaii $11.63/hr $24,200
Kansas $11.52/hr $23,970
New Jersey $11.05/hr $22,980
Iowa $10.86/hr $22,580
Pennsylvania $10.83/hr $22,530
West Virginia $10.75/hr $22,350
Louisiana $10.72/hr $22,300
Guam $10.62/hr $22,100
Oregon $10.6/hr $22,060
Kentucky $10.57/hr $21,980
Maryland $10.55/hr $21,950
New Mexico $10.3/hr $21,420
Maine $10.27/hr $21,370
New Hampshire $10.18/hr $21,180
Ohio $10.06/hr $20,930
Wyoming $9.97/hr $20,740
Wisconsin $9.65/hr $20,070
Washington $9.57/hr $19,900
Idaho $9.56/hr $19,880
California $9.07/hr $18,860
Alabama $8.94/hr $18,600
South Dakota $8.82/hr $18,350
Nevada $8.75/hr $18,190
Massachusetts $8.68/hr $18,050


Category: Cooks, private household

Total # Employed in the US 770
Average Hourly Wage: $13.33/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$8.04 $9.33 $11.87 $14.96 $20.62
Average Yearly Salary $27,720
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$16,720 $19,410 $24,700 $31,110 $42,880
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
33.4% 43.0% 14.5% 4.2% 4.0% 0.5% 0.2%


Category: Cooks, restaurant

Total # Employed in the US 898,820
Average Hourly Wage: $11.11/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$7.76 $8.86 $10.66 $12.78 $15.27
Average Yearly Salary $23,110
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$16,140 $18,430 $22,170 $26,590 $31,770
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
33.4% 43.0% 14.5% 4.2% 4.0% 0.5% 0.2%
Cooks, restaurant — WAGES BY STATE, SORTED BY SALARY
STATEAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Indiana $14.64/hr $30,450
New York $14.05/hr $29,220
Florida $13.92/hr $28,940
Oklahoma $13.58/hr $28,250
Delaware $13.43/hr $27,930
Alaska $13.06/hr $27,170
Missouri $12.88/hr $26,800
North Dakota $12.78/hr $26,580
Utah $12.34/hr $25,670
Virginia $12.22/hr $25,410
Mississippi $12.13/hr $25,230
Colorado $12.01/hr $24,970
District of Columbia $11.99/hr $24,940
Puerto Rico $11.93/hr $24,820
North Carolina $11.83/hr $24,600
Hawaii $11.54/hr $24,000
Tennessee $11.32/hr $23,530
Michigan $11.28/hr $23,470
Nebraska $11.15/hr $23,190
Connecticut $11.06/hr $23,010
Wisconsin $10.73/hr $22,310
Guam $10.72/hr $22,300
Iowa $10.72/hr $22,290
Arkansas $10.66/hr $22,180
Kansas $10.61/hr $22,070
Montana $10.52/hr $21,890
South Carolina $10.38/hr $21,590
Oregon $10.37/hr $21,580
West Virginia $10.36/hr $21,550
Washington $10.28/hr $21,380
Massachusetts $10.22/hr $21,250
Idaho $10.2/hr $21,220
New Jersey $10.09/hr $21,000
New Hampshire $10.05/hr $20,900
Ohio $10.03/hr $20,860
New Mexico $9.99/hr $20,770
Kentucky $9.86/hr $20,500
Alabama $9.67/hr $20,120
Nevada $9.65/hr $20,080
Maine $9.61/hr $20,000
California $9.56/hr $19,890
Louisiana $9.52/hr $19,800
Pennsylvania $9.5/hr $19,750
Maryland $9.41/hr $19,580
Wyoming $9.33/hr $19,410
South Dakota $9.24/hr $19,220


Category: Cooks, short order

Total # Employed in the US 166,140
Average Hourly Wage: $9.94/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$7.38 $8.04 $9.38 $11.34 $13.62
Average Yearly Salary $20,670
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$15,340 $16,730 $19,520 $23,580 $28,340
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
33.4% 43.0% 14.5% 4.2% 4.0% 0.5% 0.2%
Cooks, short order — WAGES BY STATE, SORTED BY SALARY
STATEAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Florida $13.2/hr $27,450
Indiana $12.28/hr $25,540
New York $12.2/hr $25,380
Alaska $12.15/hr $25,280
Delaware $12.13/hr $25,220
Oklahoma $11.85/hr $24,650
Puerto Rico $11.77/hr $24,490
Missouri $11.59/hr $24,100
Colorado $11.18/hr $23,260
North Dakota $11.02/hr $22,920
Michigan $10.64/hr $22,120
Mississippi $10.48/hr $21,790
Connecticut $10.29/hr $21,400
Tennessee $10.27/hr $21,370
Nebraska $10.25/hr $21,310
Arkansas $10.23/hr $21,270
Ohio $10.17/hr $21,140
Utah $10.08/hr $20,960
New Jersey $10.08/hr $20,970
Virginia $10.07/hr $20,940
District of Columbia $9.97/hr $20,730
Kansas $9.95/hr $20,690
Montana $9.77/hr $20,310
North Carolina $9.76/hr $20,290
Idaho $9.65/hr $20,070
New Mexico $9.62/hr $20,010
Pennsylvania $9.53/hr $19,830
Hawaii $9.4/hr $19,560
Oregon $9.34/hr $19,420
Louisiana $9.23/hr $19,190
South Carolina $9.15/hr $19,030
New Hampshire $9.08/hr $18,880
Iowa $9/hr $18,730
Guam $8.95/hr $18,610
Kentucky $8.95/hr $18,620
Wyoming $8.92/hr $18,560
California $8.87/hr $18,440
West Virginia $8.85/hr $18,410
Washington $8.76/hr $18,220
Maine $8.6/hr $17,880
South Dakota $8.58/hr $17,850
Massachusetts $8.45/hr $17,570
Alabama $8.32/hr $17,310
Nevada $8.14/hr $16,930
Wisconsin $8.07/hr $16,780
Maryland $7.89/hr $16,420


Category: Food preparation workers

Total # Employed in the US 849,400
Average Hourly Wage: $9.82/hr
Hourly Wage Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$7.39 $8.02 $9.15 $11.05 $13.6
Average Yearly Salary $20,420
Yearly Salary Range
PERCENTILE
10%25%50%75%90%
$15,380 $16,680 $19,020 $22,970 $28,280
Employment Demographics
% OF WORKERS WITH
< High School Diploma High School Diploma Some College Associate Degree Bachelor Degree Master Degree Doctoral Degree
33.0% 40.4% 15.4% 3.9% 6.1% 0.8% 0.3%
Food preparation workers — WAGES BY STATE, SORTED BY SALARY
STATEAverage Hourly WageAverage Annual Salary
Alaska $12.76/hr $26,530
Florida $12.05/hr $25,070
New York $11.96/hr $24,870
Delaware $11.51/hr $23,940
Missouri $10.91/hr $22,700
Oklahoma $10.73/hr $22,320
Arkansas $10.62/hr $22,100
Virginia $10.51/hr $21,850
Tennessee $10.5/hr $21,830
Indiana $10.45/hr $21,740
North Dakota $10.44/hr $21,720
Nebraska $10.34/hr $21,500
Michigan $10.27/hr $21,360
Puerto Rico $10.25/hr $21,320
Connecticut $10.25/hr $21,330
Colorado $10.21/hr $21,240
Montana $10.11/hr $21,030
Mississippi $10.04/hr $20,890
Utah $10.01/hr $20,820
District of Columbia $9.98/hr $20,760
Kansas $9.88/hr $20,560
Pennsylvania $9.72/hr $20,210
North Carolina $9.68/hr $20,130
South Carolina $9.68/hr $20,130
Hawaii $9.61/hr $20,000
Ohio $9.6/hr $19,980
Idaho $9.55/hr $19,870
Kentucky $9.45/hr $19,650
New Hampshire $9.42/hr $19,590
Maryland $9.38/hr $19,510
Iowa $9.33/hr $19,400
Louisiana $9.32/hr $19,390
New Mexico $9.14/hr $19,020
Wisconsin $9.13/hr $19,000
Maine $8.93/hr $18,580
Guam $8.87/hr $18,460
Oregon $8.79/hr $18,280
New Jersey $8.72/hr $18,140
Wyoming $8.64/hr $17,970
West Virginia $8.63/hr $17,950
Washington $8.51/hr $17,700
California $8.44/hr $17,560
Alabama $8.41/hr $17,490
South Dakota $8.34/hr $17,360
Massachusetts $8.13/hr $16,910
Nevada $8.1/hr $16,840


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