Working for a school system has its advantages including great benefits, summers off and a professional work environment among them. One of the most in-demand non-certified, non-teaching positions at a school is a cafeteria worker. Employment outlook for these positions is positive, because schools need cafeteria workers at every level and the need for children to be served nutritious hot food is ever-present. Read on to learn how to become a school cafeteria worker.
Decide what age group most appeals to you. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Elementary school students are sweet and energetic and the schools are smaller, but they tend to make bigger messes with food. Middle school students can better carry their trays and clean up after themselves, but the raging hormones of this age group affects everything, even their attitudes when in line for food. High school students generally clean up after themselves, but high schools have the most students, which requires more production to get out the food and set up the tables.
Look at the school system websites that interest you. Generally, individual schools do not list their jobs on the school's website. The jobs will be posted on the county or city school system website. Private schools are the exception-they may post their jobs directly on their websites. Search by "classified" or "non-certified" positions. You can also try calling the schools in which you are interested directly to see if they have any food service openings.
Meet the requirements for a food service worker. Although school systems may vary, generally food service workers do not have educational requirements. They are usually required to complete a certain amount of on-the-job training their first year of employment. They need to be able to lift boxes weighing up to 50 pounds, stand on hard floors for several hours a day, and do lots of stooping and bending.
Find out how much you will earn. Metro area school systems generally pay more than rural school systems, but the corresponding cost of living is higher. Public schools have to post their salaries as part of open records laws. You may find this salary information online, or you can call the human resources department at the local school or central school system office.
Start working. Food service workers generally work a few less days than teachers. They usually do not have to report to school on snow days, teacher workdays or during pre- or post-planning.