School Cook

Cook school meals that both students and teachers can enjoy.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$16,000 – $35,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do School Cooks do?

As a School Cook, you prepare food for students, faculty, and staff, which means you make enough for the masses. While this may seem like an obvious job description, what’s not so obvious is the behind-the-scenes work that a School Cook does.

Planning meals that are lightly seasoned to avoid upsetting the stomachs of school-aged children, yet flavorful enough to please the sophisticated palates of adults—that requires ingenuity and strategy. Still, School Cooks face much criticism as parents become more concerned about the foods their children consume during the day. Patience and diplomacy are important skills in this occupation, as children can be frustrating no matter how funny they are.

Many School Cooks begin their day very early, especially in schools that provide both breakfast and lunch services. This is a small price to pay if you reap the benefit of school breaks around holidays, not to mention all weekends and extended summer breaks.

If you have a supervisory or managerial role, you’re often responsible for maintaining quality standards for health inspections. Other duties in this category include maintaining accurate records for federal and state programs, placing (and receiving) food orders, and running the kitchen. Hiring, firing, supervising, and training other School Cooks may be required as well.

Should I be a School Cook?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • How to become a School Cook

    Most School Cooks have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9oaaaa&chl=no+college+%2881%25%29|certificate+%2819%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,81,81
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