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How to become a Cook

Becoming a cook does not require any formal education. However, many employers prefer hiring cooks with the right blend of formal knowledge and experience. Below are some distinct requirements that top-notch restaurants insist on.

  1. Obtain a two-year or four-year culinary degree. Some employers, however, only require that a cook has proficiency in food safety, hospitality, advanced cooking, and sanitation. Covering these units takes barely two years.
  2. Acquire advanced training to have a good grasp of skills needed for fast-paced work environments. Once absorbed, the new hire can enroll for apprenticeship programs for technical training alongside the on-the-job experience. The minimum entry point for such programs is a high school diploma or its equivalence. A cook also needs to undergo extensive training under a chef to gain culinary education that is equivalent to a degree.
How to become: Line Cook · Kitchen Team Member · Prep Cook · Line Cook/Prep Cook · Chef
These qualifications are required: BLS Certification · Food Handler Certification · Driver's License
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What skills help Cooks find jobs?

  • Baking
  • Basic math
  • Cash handling
  • Communication skills
  • Computer skills
  • Cooking
  • Culinary experience
  • Customer service
  • Dietary department experience
  • English
  • Food handling
  • Food preparation
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Career progression for Cook

Education levels for Cooks

Based on the requirements of Cook job openings on Indeed in the United States within the last three years.
required level of educationpercent of job openings
High school diploma or GED84.2%
Associate's degree8.1%
Bachelor's degree4.9%
Middle school education2.3%
Master's degree0.5%
Doctoral degree0.1%
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Expected salary by experience

Based on resume data from Indeed users who reported working as a Cook in the United States within the last three years.
Years of experienceAnnual salary in USD
0 - 4$19,800
4 - 8$21,700
8 - 12$22,800
12 - 16$23,200
16 - 20$23,400
20 - 24$24,000
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Common qualifications for Cooks

Explore popular schools to earn these qualifications
certification

First Aid Certification

National CPR Foundation
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Explore other and more common qualifications
  • certificationFood Handler Certification
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Common questions about career advices for a Cook

Do you need any specific certifications to become a cook?

While it is not mandatory to get a certification to be a cook but obtaining ServSafe Food Handler certificate is recommended if you wish to work in a restaurant.

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What soft skills do cooks need to possess?

Set of skills that make a high profile cook:

  • The ability to manage kitchen roles, create and implement menus
  • Possessing dexterity and organisational skills
  • Attention to detail and fast-paced decision-making skills
  • Culinary expertise along with high creativity
  • Basic knife skills and multitasking capability
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Do you have to go to school to be a cook?

No, there is no formal educational required to be a cook.

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