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As a sort of in-charge person, line cooks definitely have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. While you might think the head chef does most of the heavy lifting, think again. The majority of the food is prepared by the line cook.

Now, the head chef, or even the sous chef, give line cooks the direction they need to make the food. Typically, as a line cook, you'll have a particular place in the kitchen that you'll look after. Like, maybe you'll get assigned to the grill, and then you'll be in charge of everything at the grill. Or you might be assigned to the veggie prep area.

Wherever you are assigned, you should be prepared to work some crazy hours. Since you're preparing the food, you'll need at least an hour, if not two, to get everything ready. Once your line is prepped, then you're ready to take on your shift. With that extra 1-2 hours, you'll probably be working around 8-10 hours a shift.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a line cook. For example, did you know that they make an average of $15.02 an hour? That's $31,250 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 11% and produce 282,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Line Cook Do

There are certain skills that many line cooks have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed comprehension, dexterity and physical stamina.

Learn more about what a Line Cook does

How To Become a Line Cook

If you're interested in becoming a line cook, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 19.5% of line cooks have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.9% of line cooks have master's degrees. Even though some line cooks have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a line cook. When we researched the most common majors for a line cook, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on line cook resumes include bachelor's degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a line cook. In fact, many line cook jobs require experience in a role such as cook. Meanwhile, many line cooks also have previous career experience in roles such as cashier or line cook, prep cook.

Line Cook Career Paths

Average Salary for a Line Cook

Line Cooks in America make an average salary of $31,250 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $37,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Line Cook Salary
$31,250 Yearly
$15.02 hourly
$25,000
10 %
$31,000
Median
$37,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Line Cook Education

Line Cook Majors

12.7 %

Line Cook Degrees

High School Diploma

36.4 %

Associate

29.4 %

Bachelors

19.5 %

Top Skills For a Line Cook

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.1% of line cooks listed sanitation standards on their resume, but soft skills such as comprehension and dexterity are important as well.

  • Sanitation Standards, 13.1%
  • Food Safety, 12.0%
  • High Quality, 11.0%
  • Kitchen Equipment, 10.2%
  • High Volume, 8.6%
  • Other Skills, 45.1%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Line Cook Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Line Cook templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Line Cook resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Line Cook Demographics

Line Cook Gender Distribution

Male
Male
73%
Female
Female
27%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among line cooks, 26.9% of them are women, while 73.1% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among line cooks is White, which makes up 61.1% of all line cooks.

  • The most common foreign language among line cooks is Spanish at 65.4%.

Online Courses For Line Cook That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Nutrition and Health: Food Safety
edX (Global)

Everyday reports of food scandals and recalls are published. One day it’s scary bacteria in meat, and another day it’s dangerous pesticides in fruits. According to some, meat needs to be cooked well to prevent food-borne illness while others warn not to heat food to prevent the formation of poisonous substances. Many consumers worry about the conflicting and confusing messages about food hazards. This nutrition and health course will teach you about the risk factors associated with food and...

Cook Real Food: How to Make Simple Plant-Based Meals
udemy
4.6
(1,117)

Learn how to cook whole plant foods to make quick, easy, and healthy vegan meals for practical everyday eating...

Fundamentals of Logistics, Supply Chain & Customer Service
udemy
4.5
(1,048)

Learn Logistics, Supply Chain and Customer Service. 3 Courses in 1...

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Best States For a Line Cook

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a line cook. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Washington, Vermont, and Massachusetts. Line cooks make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $39,791. Whereas in Washington and Vermont, they would average $38,417 and $35,915, respectively. While line cooks would only make an average of $35,670 in Massachusetts, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Washington

Total Line Cook Jobs:
866
Highest 10% Earn:
$46,000
Location Quotient:
0.58 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Connecticut

Total Line Cook Jobs:
515
Highest 10% Earn:
$43,000
Location Quotient:
0.76 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Hawaii

Total Line Cook Jobs:
130
Highest 10% Earn:
$44,000
Location Quotient:
0.76 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Line Cooks

How Do Line Cook Rate Their Jobs?

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4.0

Happy For NowJanuary 2020

4.0

Zippia Official LogoHappy For NowJanuary 2020

What do you like the most about working as Line Cook?

I like being able to work with food and get creative. I enjoy learning new techniques for a set of skills that can be applied outside the workplace. Show More

What do you NOT like?

It's pretty stressful on the body. I definitely could not see myself doing this the rest of my life; I am 19 and I can admit it's hard work - and I would consider myself in shape. Like dishwashers, I do consider myself underappreciated as well. We don't make very much money - In some cases, the servers make more than us! I think it's because our specific organization doesn't allow the kitchen staff to get tips at all. Show More

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Top Line Cook Employers

Most Common Employers For Line Cook

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1Panera Bread$31,250$15.02927
2Darden Restaurants$30,545$14.692,200
3Cracker Barrel$29,590$14.23512
4Applebee's Canada$29,437$14.153,291
5IHOP$29,434$14.15710
6Ruby Tuesday$29,395$14.13995
7The Cheesecake Factory$29,391$14.13950
8Denny's$29,244$14.06678
9Buffalo Wild Wings$29,178$14.031,570
10Chipotle Mexican Grill$28,942$13.91439

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Becoming a Line Cook FAQs

How long does it take to become a Line Cook?

It takes 2 years of professional experience to become a line cook. That is the time it takes to learn specific line cook skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education.

Is being a line cook stressful?

Being a line cook is stressful, but it comes with an adrenaline rush and lifestyle that some people are drawn to and enjoy. Do you thrive in the chaos of a busy kitchen?

There are many perks to the job: working on a team, often enjoying free food, and bringing satisfaction to customers every day. It's a social and physical role where timing, attention to detail, and a certain amount of creativity may all be important.

What degree do you need to be a line cook?

You do not need a degree to be a line cook. You work at the chef's direction and would do best to arrive with a strong understanding of various cooking methods, ingredients, and equipment.

What is the difference between a cook and a line cook?

The difference between a line cook and a cook is that "cook" is a general term and line cooks have specific stations they work within a kitchen line. You may also hear terms like short-order cook, which refers to cooks working in coffee shops preparing quick meals.

What is the role of a scheduler?

A scheduler's role is to serve as the coordinator for schedules and appointments. Schedulers must listen to the needs of those requesting appointments to determine the amount of time the appointment will require and then find the time that works best for both parties.

What makes a good line cook?

A good line cook enjoys being part of a team in a busy kitchen. The workflow in a kitchen is fairly constant, so you are less likely to be bored. You learn to love the rhythm while being surrounded by other people and delicious smells.

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