Waiters and Waitresses

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Social: 61
  • Purpose: 44
  • Creative: 9
  • Analytical: 2
  • Supported: 0

What Waiters and Waitresses Do

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.

Work Environment

Waiters and waitresses work in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other food-serving and drinking establishments. Work schedules include early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. About 1 in 2 worked part time in 2014. During busy hours, they may be under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently.

How to Become a Waiter or Waitress

Most waiter and waitress jobs are entry level, and workers learn their skills on the job. No formal education is required.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Waiters and waitresses

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of waiters and waitresses is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Job opportunities are expected to be very good because of the many workers who leave their jobs each year. Candidates seeking employment at upscale restaurants could face strong competition for jobs.

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    Job Trends for Waiters and Waitresses

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    This occupation supported 2,362,200 jobs in 2012 and 2,465,100 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 4.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 5.6% in 2022 to 2,494,000 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 2,388,500, compared with an observed value of 2,465,100, 3.2% 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 2.9% in 2024 to 2,534,000 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 2,520,300 jobs for 2024, 0.5% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.

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