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Cooks prepare food in eating establishments such as hotels, restaurants, institutions, trains and ships.

  • Avg. Salary $28,465.00
  • Avg. Wage $16.37
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 26,800
  • In Demand High
NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Cooks (6242) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Cooks (G412) 
  • 2011 NOC: Cooks (6322) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Interest Codes
The Cook is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).

Interest in compiling information to monitor food and supplier inventory


Interest in precision working to prepare and cook complete meals and individual dishes and foods, and to prepare and cook special meals for patients as instructed by dietitians and chefs


Interest in supervising kitchen helpers; and in overseeing subordinate personnel in the preparation, cooking and handling of food

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 20, 2016

In general, cooks are responsible for nutrition, food costs and sanitation. Depending on the establishment, they may:

  • study menus to estimate food requirements and obtain the necessary food from storage or suppliers
  • wash, peel and cut vegetables
  • clean and cut meats, fish and poultry
  • clean kitchen equipment and cooking utensils 
  • prepare, season and cook foods such as soups, salads, meat, fish, gravies, vegetables, desserts, sauces and casseroles
  • carve meats, prepare portions on plates and add gravies, sauces and garnish to servings
  • bake pastries
  • prepare items for buffets (for example, platters, showpieces)
  • prepare special diets
  • oversee menu planning, regulate stock control and supervise kitchen staff.

While specific duties vary depending on the type of establishment, it is the cook's responsibility to prepare meals that are both appealing and nutritious.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Cooks work under pressure and the work volume can be considerable. Often, they work shifts that include weekends and holidays.

Burns and cuts are common occupational hazards. Cooks may be required to lift and move items that weigh over 25 kilograms.

  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Cooks need the following characteristics:

  • fluency in English with reading and writing competency
  • good basic math skills
  • a genuine interest in preparing food
  • good health
  • able to stand for long periods
  • a keen sense of taste and smell
  • flexibility
  • able to work as members of a team
  • willing to maintain the high standard of cleanliness necessary in any food establishment.

They should enjoy being creative.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 20, 2016

To work in Alberta, a cook must be ONE of the following:

  • a registered apprentice
  • an Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate  
  • someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • self-employed.

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must:

  • have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2 and Math 10-3, or equivalent, or a pass mark in all 5 GED tests, or pass an entrance exam.
  • find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates.  

The term of apprenticeship is three years (three 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for credit or certification.

Cook apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Technical training is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training and is currently offered at:

  • Lethbridge College
  • the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton
  • Red Deer College
  • the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary.

For more information, visit the Technical Training Centre on the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

Lethbridge College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 20, 2016


Cooks prepare food in eating establishments such as hotels, restaurants, institutions, trains and ships. For more information, see the Trades and Occupations section of Alberta's Tradesecrets website.


Under Alberta's Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act and Cook Trade Regulation, you do not have to be certified if you are self-employed or work for an employer who is satisfied that you have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. To learn the trade, you must become a registered apprentice.

What You Need

The term of apprenticeship for apprentice cooks in Alberta is three years (three 12 month periods) that include a minimum of 1,560 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training in each year. Apprentices must find suitable employers who are willing to hire and train apprentices, and successfully complete technical training examinations.

Working in Alberta

Cooks trained in other provinces and territories can work in Alberta if they hold a certificate or license recognized by the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board or have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified in Alberta. For more information, see the Recognized Trade Certificates page of the Tradesecrets website.

Contact Details

Any of the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Client Service Offices located throughout Alberta. For a list of office locations and telephone numbers, click on "Contact Us" on the home page of the Tradesecrets website (

This is an Apprenticeship trade. For full details, see the related certification profile

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Cooks are employed in hotels, clubs, restaurants, catering firms, cafeterias, institutions, homes, specialty food outlets and isolated camps. Some jobs are seasonal.

Experienced cooks may advance through promotions with the same employer or by moving to more advanced positions with other employers. They can become:

  • sous-chefs, chefs or executive chefs (for more information, see the Chef occupational profile)
  • banquet managers or caterers (for more information, see the Banquet Manager and Caterer occupational profiles)
  • food service administrators and coordinators (for more information, see the Food Service Supervisor and Food and Nutrition Manager occupational profiles)
  • general managers or food editors.

Some experienced cooks achieve a highly respected level of certification, Certified Chef de Cuisine (CCC). There are good prospects for travel both within Canada and abroad.

Alberta certified journeyperson cooks who have the supervisory or management skills required by industry may apply for an Achievement in Business Competencies Blue Seal by contacting Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

In Alberta, 82% of people employed as cooks work in the Accommodation and Food Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Accommodation and Food Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 24,900 Albertans are employed in the Cooks occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.4% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 598 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Journeyperson wage rates vary but generally range from $15 to $25 an hour plus benefits (2014 estimates). Apprentice cooks earn at least 60% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 75% in the second and 85% in the third. 

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $12.20 $19.82 $14.78 $14.00
Overall $13.00 $22.26 $16.37 $15.62
Top $14.00 $26.47 $18.89 $18.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Public Administration
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Health Care & Social Assistance
Educational Services
Retail Trade
Accommodation & Food Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Personal and Food Services
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 20, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 30, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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