Fast Food Worker: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for fast food workers. Get the facts about salary, training requirements and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Art of Cooking degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Fast Food Worker?

If you're considering working as a fast food worker, minimal education and training is needed to get started. Fast food workers overall prepare and serve food. They work the cash registers, cook or re-heat food, take and fill orders and clean their stations. Their job is considered fast-paced.

An overview of some of the career details is listed in the following table.

Training Required On-the-job training
Key Skills Communication, physical dexterity and stamina, organization
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 11%
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $18,910

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Do I Need as a Fast Food Worker?

Most entry-level positions at fast food restaurants are attainable with a high school diploma or less. Training takes place on the job, and these businesses often hire students who have not yet graduated from high school or passed their GED. On-the-job training typically includes safety procedures, health procedures, food preparation and operational procedures. You may become acquainted with the menu and learn various customer service techniques.

If you want to move into management, you could pursue a vocational certificate or even bachelor's degree in restaurant management. This type of degree program could help you learn business skills specific to the restaurant industry, including human resources, accounting, management and finance.

What Skills Do I Need?

Many employers value outgoing people with good customer service skills, which helps build repeat business. Basic mathematics and communication skills are also useful, especially if you work a cash register. A good memory is also useful for taking orders and serving food. If your establishment serves alcohol, you may have to be 18 years old or older, depending on state requirements for serving alcohol.

What Are the Job Prospects?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment rate for fast food workers was to grow 11% between 2014 and 2024. Additionally, this industry is expected to experience a large number of new jobs during the same time at 343,500. Growth in this industry correlates positively with population growth, which will increase. Further, job prospects are expected to remain good because workers in this field change jobs often, producing more or less consistent job openings.

How Much Will I Get Paid?

Fast food workers earned a median annual salary of $18,910, according to the BLS in May 2015. The median wage for this profession was $9.09 per hour during the same time.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

With relatively little or no education, one can become a cashier, food preparation worker or waiter/waitress. Cashiers work in multiple industries, like in fast food, where they process customer payments. Food preparation workers prepare the food by cutting, storing and organizing. Waiters and waitresses take orders from tables and bring customers food, beverages, utensils and menus.

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