The job of dishwasher was one of the 10 worst-paying jobs in America as of May 2012, according to "Forbes." That's why turnover is high for this position, which is usually performed by high school teens or people with little job experience. Still, a dishwashing job may fit your schedule if you want to earn extra money while in school, or help support your family when underemployed.
Dishwashers work at restaurants, schools, hospitals or other establishments that serve food. As a dishwasher, you are responsible for picking up plates, utensils and food preparation equipment from waitresses and cooks, and rinsing and cleaning them for repeated use. You will stock pots, pans and other items in kitchen cabinets and drawers. Dishwashers also sweep and clean the floors in their working area and wipe down the dishwashing equipment.
Outside of your dishwashing duties, you may be required to help cooks or chefs retrieve food ingredients from walk-in freezers or refrigerators. You may also have to count and verify incoming foods and supplies and carry these items to their proper storage locations. In a large full-service restaurant, the dishwasher may also set up tables and chairs for banquets or parties. As a dishwasher, you may also have to take trash to the dumpster when necessary.
Dishwashers spend many hours on their feet. This may cause you some discomfort on the job because kitchens and areas around your work area can get hot. Consuming lots of water or taking occasional breaks away from the kitchen can help you cope with the heat. These uncomfortable conditions are one of the main reasons there's a high turnover rate in the job.
Education and Training
Many dishwashers do not have high school diplomas, and the job is usually performed by younger workers. This is also an entry-level job so it's doubtful that you need any previous experience -- training is done on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your supervisor or another dishwasher will help you learn the procedures for rinsing and loading dishes -- some of which are sent through equipment that uses conveyor belts.
Average Annual Wages and Job Outlook
Dishwashers are usually paid by the hour. They earned an average annual wage of $18,840 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. If you are among the top 10 percent, you would earn over $23,280 per year. The top-paying districts or states are Hawaii, Nevada and the District of Columbia -- $24,590, $24,420 and $23,490 per year, respectively.
The BLS reported that jobs for dishwashers are expected to show an increase of only 7 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than the 14 percent national average. With some persistence, however, you have a good chance of getting a dishwashing job because of the high turnover rate.
- Forbes: The Best- And Worst-Paying Jobs In America
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011: Dishwashers
- StateUniversity.com: Dishwasher Job Description, Career as a Dishwasher, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job