Prep Cooks and Dishwashers are considered as low-level jobs to the financial world but to the creative culinary world a rite of passage into understanding the integrity behind the process of cooking. Legendary chefs such as Anthony Bourdain, Thomas Keller, and Mario Batalli all started as dishwashers.

A prep cook and dishwasher are primarily involved in cleaning kitchen utensils and equipment, as well as undertaking food preparation tasks such as chopping, weighing, washing, and storing. They also help to assist chefs in recording food inventory.

Many chefs become dishwashers at a very young age to understand how the kitchen works and this role does not require any previous experience. If you have the passion and willingness to go the extra mile, a chef will give you the opportunity. You just need to show up and knock on the door. Prep cooks and dishwashers earn an average of $12 per hour and generally work between 30-50 hours per week.

What Does a Prep Cook/Dishwasher Do

There are certain skills that many prep cook/dishwashers 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 listening skills, physical strength and dexterity.

Learn more about what a Prep Cook/Dishwasher does

How To Become a Prep Cook/Dishwasher

If you're interested in becoming a prep cook/dishwasher, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 9.0% of prep cook/dishwashers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.5% of prep cook/dishwashers have master's degrees. Even though some prep cook/dishwashers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Prep Cook/Dishwasher Career Paths

Average Salary for a Prep Cook/Dishwasher

Prep Cook/Dishwashers in America make an average salary of $31,687 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $39,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Prep Cook/Dishwasher Salary
$31,687 Yearly
$15.23 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Prep Cook/Dishwasher

There are several types of prep cook/dishwasher, including:



So, get this - as a cook, you'll spend a lot of your time cooking. Crazy, we know. But that's not all you'll be doing. In addition to the food actually being cooked properly, most people like it to be seasoned. Between the preparation and seasoning, this is where you get to be creative.

When you think of a cook, you probably think of a restaurant setting but in actuality, cooks are needed in a lot of different places, this includes schools, hospitals, and even private households. One thing that is consistent is the inconsistent schedule.

Sometimes you'll work a night shift, other times you'll work super early in the morning. You may even have to work on a holiday. And don't be surprised with a weekend shift. The good news is that formal education isn't really necessary. Sometimes culinary creativity comes naturally.

  • Average Salary: $31,803
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Line Cook


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.

  • Average Salary: $32,894
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Prep Cook


Under the direction of a head chef, you'll know exactly what to prepare for as a prep cook. It is essentially your job to make sure the food and kitchen area is prepped for the creation of delicious meals.

Typically, this is a part-time job. But you might be able to find a full-time position somewhere. In your position, you'll be working in a restaurant, hotel, or another establishment that serves food.

As a prep cook, you won't need much education to get by. In fact, the position doesn't require any formal education, but you will need to go through some training, once you're hired. And when we say training, we mean several weeks of on-the-job training. By the end of it, you'll be a sharp prep cook, ready to slice and dice.

  • Average Salary: $32,292
  • Degree: High School Diploma

States With The Most Prep Cook/Dishwasher Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active prep cook/dishwasher jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where prep cook/dishwashers earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Prep Cook/Dishwasher Jobs By State

Prep Cook/Dishwasher Education

Prep Cook/Dishwasher Majors

16.6 %

Prep Cook/Dishwasher Degrees

High School Diploma

57.2 %


16.5 %


12.3 %

Top Skills For a Prep Cook/Dishwasher

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, 42.1% of prep cook/dishwashers listed wash dishes on their resume, but soft skills such as listening skills and physical strength are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Prep Cook/Dishwasher Resume templates

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

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Prep Cook/Dishwasher diversity

Prep Cook/Dishwasher Gender Distribution


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

  • Among prep cook/dishwashers, 19.9% of them are women, while 80.1% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among prep cook/dishwashers is White, which makes up 59.1% of all prep cook/dishwashers.

  • The most common foreign language among prep cook/dishwashers is Spanish at 72.0%.

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Best States For a Prep Cook/Dishwasher

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a prep cook/dishwasher. The best states for people in this position are Washington, California, Oregon, and New York. Prep cook/dishwashers make the most in Washington with an average salary of $39,430. Whereas in California and Oregon, they would average $35,963 and $35,069, respectively. While prep cook/dishwashers would only make an average of $34,928 in New York, 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. Alaska

Total Prep Cook/Dishwasher Jobs: 123
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Washington

Total Prep Cook/Dishwasher Jobs: 764
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Oregon

Total Prep Cook/Dishwasher Jobs: 484
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Prep Cook/Dishwashers

How Do Prep Cook/Dishwashers Rate Their Jobs?


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Prep Cook/Dishwasher Reviews

Dec 2022

Because ,I like making sure the dishes etc,food is prepared for customers!!!



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Top Prep Cook/Dishwasher Employers

Most Common Employers For Prep Cook/Dishwasher

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1The Cheesecake Factory$34,485$16.58217
2Bob Evans Restaurants$33,040$15.88114
3Texas Roadhouse$31,592$15.19114
4Darden Restaurants$30,726$14.77271
5Outback Steakhouse$30,612$14.72186
6Cracker Barrel$30,390$14.61314
7Chili's Grill & Bar$30,245$14.54240
8Panera Bread$30,068$14.4694
9BJ's Restaurants$28,802$13.85106
10Chipotle Mexican Grill$28,721$13.81145

Prep Cook/Dishwasher Videos