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Summary of occupation

Cooks may manage all aspects of a kitchen, including purchasing food items, preparing, cooking and presenting food, as well as keeping the kitchen clean and hygienic. This could be in hotels, pubs, cafeterias or mining company kitchens. Cooks may also plan menus, check food for quality and presentation, and train and supervise other staff. They may also work with chefs. Unlike cooks, chefs must have formal trade qualifications.

ANZSCO description: Prepares, seasons and cooks food in a dining or catering establishment.
Alternative names: Chef
Specialisations: Breakfast Cook, Fast Food Cook, Pastry Cook, Specific Cuisine Cook
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A cook needs:

  • to be flexible to work shifts and in stressful situations
  • a high level of personal cleanliness
  • good communication skills and be able to work in a team
  • to be punctual
  • to plan carefully and pay attention to detail
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Working conditions

A cook's job can be very stressful, especially during peak periods Cooks are generally required to work shifts, and may be required to work a split shift, week-ends and public holidays. Normal hours are 38 hours per week. Cooks usually need to stand for most of the working day and kitchens can be hot and humid. Turnover in this occupation is high and cooks sometimes move to another job to get more experience or promotion.


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Salary details

On average, cooks can expect to earn between $679.90 and $799 per week ($35 354.80 and $41 599 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a cook develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.​

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Tools and technologies

Cooks need to be proficient with knives and other cooking equipment. They may also need to use special ovens and hotplates. For specific types of food, they may need to use specialty implements such as a wok for Asian cooking.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a cook without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a cookery qualification. 

The Certificate III in Commercial Cookery is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.​

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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