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Occupation Information

SOC Code: 35-9021.00

Clean dishes, kitchen, food preparation equipment, or utensils.

Sample of reported job titles: Dietary Aide, Dish Machine Operator (DMO), Dish Room Worker, Dish Technician, Dish Washer, Dishwasher, Kitchen Helper, Kitchen Steward, Stewarding Supervisor, Utility Aide


  • Wash dishes, glassware, flatware, pots, or pans, using dishwashers or by hand.
  • Maintain kitchen work areas, equipment, or utensils in clean and orderly condition.
  • Place clean dishes, utensils, or cooking equipment in storage areas.
  • Sort and remove trash, placing it in designated pickup areas.
  • Sweep or scrub floors.
  • Stock supplies, such as food or utensils, in serving stations, cupboards, refrigerators, or salad bars.
  • Clean or prepare various foods for cooking or serving.
  • Receive and store supplies.
  • Clean garbage cans with water or steam.
  • Transfer supplies or equipment between storage and work areas, by hand or using hand trucks.
  • Prepare and package individual place settings.
  • Load or unload trucks that deliver or pick up food or supplies.
  • Set up banquet tables.

Technology Skills

  • Operating system software - Microsoft Windows

Tools Used

  • Commercial use dishwashers - Commercial dishwashers; Commercial glasswashers; Pot-washing machines; Power washers (see all 6 examples)
  • Dish drainer - Dish drying racks; Drain racks
  • Domestic kitchen funnels - Funnels
  • Domestic trash compactors - Kitchen trash compactors
  • Hand trucks or accessories - Handtrucks
  • Handheld thermometer - Digital handheld thermometers
  • Lifts - Electric pallet lifters
  • Remote reading thermometers - Temperature indicator strips
  • Sinks - Three-compartment sinks
  • Soap dispensing brush - Dish-cleaning brushes
  • Wet mops - Cleaning mops


  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.


  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Multilimb Coordination - The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Trunk Strength - The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.


  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Spend Time Standing - 96% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 68% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 44% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 46% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 40% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 57% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 39% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Physical Proximity - 31% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 38% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 40% responded “Limited freedom.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 39% responded “Very important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 41% responded “Minor results.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure - 41% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 28% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 28% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 44% responded “Important.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 25% responded “Very high responsibility.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
54%Less than high school diploma
41%High school diploma or equivalent
5%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values

  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $10.34 hourly, $21,500 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 514,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Slower than average (2% to 4%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 83,000

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