Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Baking and Pastry Arts
- Catering and Restaurant Management
- Chef Training
- Food Preparation
- Food Server and Dining Room Mgmt
- Institutional Food Worker
- Meat Cutting
Career Definition for a Cafeteria Worker
Cafeteria workers are a specialized type of food service worker employed in institutional settings, such as schools, hospitals, businesses and so on. Many cafeteria worker jobs are part-time and attract younger applicants due to their relatively low wages. Typical duties of cafeteria workers include serving customers, keeping serving areas clean, clearing tables, communicating with kitchen staff, restocking supplies and other duties as called for.
|Required Education||No formal education required; a high school diploma and basic English skills will increase the chances of employment|
|Job Duties||Serve customers, clear tables, restock supplies|
|Median Salary (2015)*|| $9.24 per hour (all counter attendants, including cafeteria workers)
$9.27 (all dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers)
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||6% growth (all dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
There are no specific education requirements for a career in food service. A high school degree will improve your opportunities in beginning a career as a cafeteria worker. Being able to read, write, speak and understand spoken English will also help you to succeed as a cafeteria worker.
Basic math skills, especially if your work includes cashiering, are important for a career in food service. A thorough understanding of food safety principles is also important for any career in food service.
Employment and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) expects little or no change in employment of counter attendants, cafeteria, food concession, and coffee shop workers from 2014-2024, while the growth for dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers was anticipated to be almost average, at 6%. The median hourly wage of counter attendants, including cafeteria workers, was $9.24 in 2015, and dining room and cafeteria attendants and bartender helpers earned $9.27, according to BLS data.
Alternate Career Options
Here are some examples of alternative career options:
Faster-than-average job growth of 10% was projected by the BLS from 2014-2024 for these workers who learn their skills on the job to mix drinks and provide them to customers. In 2015, the median hourly salary reported by the BLS was $9.39, along with a reminder that many bartenders earn extra income from tips.
Skills for cooks may be learned on the job, although some complete postsecondary training programs to improve their chances of finding employment preparing foods in schools, restaurants, hospitals or private homes. A slower-than-average increase in positions was expected in the 2014-2024 decade, with 4% growth predicted by the BLS. The BLS also reported hourly median earnings of $10.44 in 2015.