Cooks prepare, season, and cook a wide range of foods.
Vocational cooking schools, professional culinary institutes, and some colleges offer culinary programs for aspiring cooks. These programs generally last from a few months to 2 years and may offer courses in advanced cooking techniques, international cuisines, and various cooking styles. To enter these programs, candidates may be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Depending on the type and length of the program, graduates generally qualify for entry-level positions as a restaurant cook.
Overall employment of cooks is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Individual growth rates will vary by specialty. Population and income growth are expected to result in greater consumer demand for food at a variety of dining places.
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.