Waiters and Waitresses

Career Overview

Waiters and waitresses take orders and serve food and beverages to customers in dining establishments.


Most waiters and waitresses learn through short-term on-the-job training. No formal education or previous work experience is required to enter the occupation. Most states require workers who serve alcoholic beverages to be at least 18 years of age, but some states require servers to be older. Waiters and waitresses who serve alcohol must be familiar with state and local laws concerning the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Salary Expectations

Low End:
High End:
$8 /yr
$10 /yr
$19 /yr

Recommended Courses

  • Psychology
  • Math
  • English - as much as possible!
  • Communication
  • Culinary courses
Work Environment

Waiters and waitresses work in restaurants, bars, hotels, and other food-serving and drinking establishments. Work schedules include early mornings, late evenings, weekends, and holidays. About half worked part time in 2016. During busy hours, they may be under pressure to serve customers quickly and efficiently.

Future Outlook

Employment of waiters and waitresses is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job prospects are expected to be very good because of the many workers who leave their jobs each year. Candidates seeking employment at upscale restaurants may face strong competition for jobs.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook
Explore Careers, Labour Market Information, Government of Canada