Chefs and Head Cooks Salary 2018: How Much Money Do They Make

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hourly pay for Chefs and Head Cooks
do Chefs and Head Cooks make a lot of money

Chefs and Head Cooks

Other names for this job might include Banquet Chef, Bread and Pastry Baker, Cake Froster, Cake Icer, Cake Maker, Cake Mixer, Certified Executive Chef (CEC), Chef, Chef de Cuisine, Chef de Froid

  • $47390
  • 65%
    Job satisfaction
  • Medium
    Becoming one
  • Low
    Job growth
OwlGuru Rank


How Much Do Chefs and Head Cooks Make In 2018

In this salary guide, you will find out how much do Chefs and Head Cooks make.

After reading this, you will be able to make a decision if working as a Chef and Head Cook will suit your financial goals (e.g: buying a home, BMW or just your target salary goal).

Average salary

Annual salary
$47390 per year

Hourly wage
$22.790 per hour

One of the most popular questions we get from our readers here at OwlGuru is how much do Chefs and Head Cooks make per year and what is their hourly wage.

According to BLS, the average annual salary of Chefs and Head Cooks is $47390. Their salary can also be as low as $23630 if you’re still a newbie with no experience to over $76280 if you have a ton of experience under your belt.

The typical hourly pay is $22.790 and can range from $11.360 to $36.670 which also depends if you’re a newbie or a professional.

Just like any other job, the salary of A Chef and Head Cook will vary based on your education and experience level.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.
Salary rank

We wanted to make it easy for our readers to compare the salary of A Chef and Head Cook to all the other careers out there. So we created Salary Rank.

This compares the salary of all careers and we give them a rank of A, B, C or D depending on how high or low is their average salary.

After comparing how much do Chefs and Head Cooks make with other careers, they have a salary rank of C.

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Salary range

Highest (Top 10%)$36.670$76280
Senior (Top 25%)$28.400$59080
Middle (Mid 50%)$20.760$43180
Junior (Bottom 25%)$15.500$32230
No experience (Bottom 10%)$11.360$23630

Entry-level Chefs and Head Cooks who starts out at $32230 can expect to make $43180 after 3-5 years of experience in the field.

The bottom 10% makes less than $11.360 per hour while the top 10% makes over $36.670 per hour.

While the median wage is $43180 per annum or $20.760 per hour.

Depending on who you work for, you might also get overtime pay.

# = Over $100 per hour or $200,000 per year.

Highest paying industries

Industry nameHourly wageAnnual salary
Federal Executive Branch31.6265770
Federal government, including the US Postal Service31.6265770
Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services31.5165530
Securities, Commodity Contracts, and Other Financial Investments and Related Activities31.2665010
Activities Related to Real Estate29.6561680
Federal, State, and Local Government29.4161170
Federal, State, and Local Government, excluding state and local schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service29.4161170
Finance and Insurance28.2758810
Technical and Trade Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)27.9858200
Technical and trade schools, Privately owned27.9858200
Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences27.9358090
Scientific Research and Development Services27.5357260
Personal and Laundry Services27.2856750
Deep Sea, Coastal, and Great Lakes Water Transportation27.0956350
Management of Companies and Enterprises27.0756300
Fitness and Recreational Sports Centers26.8955940
Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events26.7455610
Specialty (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse) Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)26.6255370
Specialty hospitals, Privately owned26.6255370
Amusement Parks and Arcades26.3654830
Other Amusement and Recreation Industries26.1154310
Amusement, Gambling, and Recreation Industries25.753450
Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation25.6653380
Casino Hotels25.6253290
Other Support Services25.5853210
Federal, state, and local government, including government owned schools and hospitals, and the US Postal Service25.5853200
Traveler Accommodation25.553040
Performing Arts, Spectator Sports, and Related Industries25.0552100
Theater Companies and Dinner Theaters25.0552090
Specialty Food Stores24.9951970
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, Privately owned24.9351860
Junior colleges, Local government owned24.9151800
Office Administrative Services24.8651720
Performing Arts Companies24.8551700
Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing24.8451670
Beverage Manufacturing24.8451670
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals24.8351650
Other Food Manufacturing24.7451460
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services24.6351240
Wholesale Trade24.651160
Educational Services, Privately owned24.5651080
Real Estate and Rental and Leasing24.4650870
Water Transportation24.450760
Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions24.3950730
Civic and Social Organizations24.2850500
Fruit and Vegetable Preserving and Specialty Food Manufacturing24.2750480
Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations24.2250370
Elementary and Secondary Schools, Privately owned24.1950310
Real Estate24.1350190
Community Food and Housing, and Emergency and Other Relief Services23.9349780
Other Services (except Federal, State, and Local Government)23.8849680
Transportation and Warehousing23.8249540
Gambling Industries23.7349360
Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations23.7349350
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods23.6949270
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)23.5949070
Hospitals, Privately owned23.5348950
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals, Privately owned23.4448750
Sector 56- Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services23.3748610
Administrative and Support Services23.3748610
Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)23.3648600
Grocery and Related Product Merchant Wholesalers23.3448550
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)23.3248500
Residential Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities23.1348100
State government, including schools and hospitals23.0647970
Special Food Services2347840
Lessors of Real Estate22.9947820
Local Government, excluding schools and hospitals22.9847790
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities22.6747160
Ambulatory Health Care Services22.5146820
Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation22.4846750
Junior Colleges (including private, state, and local government schools)22.4346650
Local government, including schools and hospitals22.4146600
Health Care and Social Assistance (including private, state, and local government hospitals)22.446590
Colleges, universities, and professional schools, State government owned22.3746520
Spectator Sports22.3146400
Vending Machine Operators22.2546280
Facilities Support Services22.2446250
Employment Services22.2446250
Educational Services, State government owned22.1846140
All industries22.0645880
Continuing Care Retirement Communities and Assisted Living Facilities for the Elderly22.0645870
Social Assistance21.9345610
All industries, private ownership only21.9245580
Nursing and Residential Care Facilities21.945550
Nonstore Retailers21.8645470
Food Manufacturing21.8245390
Scenic and Sightseeing Transportation, Water21.6545030
Accommodation and Food Services21.5544820
General Merchandise Stores21.4844680
Nursing Care Facilities (Skilled Nursing Facilities)21.3844470
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals (including private, state, and local government hospitals)21.0843840
Educational Services (including private, state, and local government schools)21.0643800
Food Services and Drinking Places20.8743410
Full-Service Restaurants20.843270
Bakeries and Tortilla Manufacturing20.542640
Restaurants and Other Eating Places20.4742570
RV (Recreational Vehicle) Parks and Recreational Camps19.5240610
Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)19.4640470
Individual and Family Services19.0639640
Retail Trade18.9339380
Food and Beverage Stores18.8639230
Grocery Stores18.6838860
Elementary and Secondary Schools (including private, state, and local government schools)17.7736970
Educational Services, Local government owned17.4636310
Elementary and Secondary Schools, Local government owned16.8835110
Services for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities16.534330
Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services13.4227920

Not all industries pay the same for Chefs and Head Cooks.

One of the easiest way to increase your salary is to change industries and find a higher paying one.

Highest paying states


Another simple way to boost your pay as A Chef and Head Cook is to move to a higher paying state. However moving to a higher paying state like DC doesn’t mean you will make more overall. This is because the expenses at DC may be 2x higher than where you are currently living at right now.

According to the BLS, the highest paid / most successful Chefs and Head Cooks are in the states of DC, NJ, MA, FL and RI. The average salary in DC is $60820.

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Rank: B
Salary: $53500

They plan, direct, or coordinate activities of an organization or department that serves food and beverages.
Rank: D
Salary: $48980

They directly supervise and coordinate the activities of helpers, laborers, or material movers.
Rank: D
Salary: $32420

They directly supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in preparing and serving food.
Rank: C+
Salary: $39110

They directly supervise and coordinate work activities of cleaning personnel in hotels, hospitals, offices, and other establishments.
Rank: B+
Salary: $101640

They plan, direct, or coordinate the work activities and resources necessary for manufacturing products in accordance with cost, quality, and quantity specifications.

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Career type

Food and Hospitality
Restaurants and Food/Beverage Services

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Related to Chefs and Head Cooks Salary

Chefs and Head Cooks salary, how much do Chefs and Head Cooks earn, Chefs and Head Cooks hourly wage, Chefs and Head Cooks annual pay, highest paying industries for Chefs and Head Cooks, which states pay the highest for Chefs and Head Cooks

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