The median hourly wage of cooks was $9.74 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $7.73 per hour, and the top 10 percent earned more than $14.67 per hour.
Median hourly wages for cook occupations in May 2010 were as follows:
Earnings of cooks vary greatly by region and type of employer. Earnings usually are highest in fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels, which are often found in major metropolitan and resort areas.
Most cooks work full time but many work part time. Work shifts can include early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. Schedules for cooks in school cafeterias and some institutional cafeterias usually are more regular. Cooks working in schools may work only during the school year, usually for 9 or 10 months. Similarly, resort establishments offer seasonal employment only.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition