How to Become a Line Cook

Learn how to become a line cook. Find information on education programs, training, skills, job growth and salary. View popular online culinary schools that prepare students for careers as line cooks.


Individuals interested in learning how to become a line cook may enroll in a diploma or certificate program focusing on culinary arts and cooking. Both programs may take just a few months for students to complete. A culinary arts diploma may provide students a solid foundation in cooking, and may afford students an opportunity to prepare and serve food.. Students enrolled in a certificate program may learn how to develop their baking and cooking skills. Popular line cook courses may include the following:

  • Safety and Sanitation
  • Cuisines Across Cultures
  • Culinary Skills and Procedures
  • Fundamentals of Baking
  • Catering and Buffets
  • Culinary Foundations


Students who wish to become line cooks may need on-the-job training or an apprenticeship to increase their chances of securing a job. Short-term on-the-job training may only take several weeks to complete, and individuals may learn about kitchen basics and workplace safety. Apprenticeships are also available, typically sponsored by culinary institutes and industry associations. These programs may last two years and combine work experience alongside technical training.

Required Skills

Individuals may become line cooks if they have several skills and important qualities. They should possess strong customer-service skills and work well with others since they may need to coordinate dishes with other workers. Line cooks may also need to have stamina, as their job may be physically tiring and require them to be on their feet for extended time. To be successful at their job, line cooks may need strong hand-eye coordination skills, which may help them to slice, dice, and chop foods.

Job Outlook & Salary

Line cooks may find career opportunities working in schools, restaurants, hotels, and other eating establishments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for those pursuing careers as cooks are expected to increase by 8% from 2010-2020, which is slower than the national average. The BLS also reported that the median hourly wage of cooks was $9.74 as of May 2010. However, earnings of cooks vary greatly by region and type of employer. Those who work in fine-dining establishments and luxury hotels may find higher hourly wages.

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