Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods, which may include soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.
Cooks work in restaurants, schools, hospitals, private households, and other places where food is prepared and served. They often work early mornings, late evenings, holidays, and weekends.
How to Become a Cook
Most cooks learn their skills through on-the-job training and related work experience. Although no formal education is required, some restaurant cooks and private household cooks attend culinary school.
Overall employment of cooks is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities will result from the combination of employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.
This occupation supported 2,148,500 jobs in 2012 and 2,290,700 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 6.6%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 9.5% in 2022 to 2,353,600 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 2,189,500, compared with an observed value of 2,290,700, 4.6% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 4.5% in 2024 to 2,387,900 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 2,394,600 jobs for 2024, 0.3% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.