Why We Love It
$39,000Potential Avg. Salary
5.2%Job Growth Rate
Growing DemandJob Outlook
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Food science technicians perform laboratory tests of food items. They may work to ensure that ingredients match the information on food item nutrition labels, to test food products for the presence of bacteria that could cause foodborne illness, or to develop new recipes for delicious food products.
What is a Food Science Technician?
The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in food science technician roles:
- Perform laboratory testing of packaged food items to ensure item ingredients and amounts match what’s listed on nutrition information labels
- Conduct ongoing testing of agricultural and packaged foods to ensure no bacteria or other elements are present that could lead to foodborne illness if consumed
- Research combinations of ingredients to develop recipes for appealing food products
- Record and publish results of tests
- Clean laboratories and equipment used in food testing processes
A Day in the Life
Food science technicians assist food scientists with tests and experiments. They may assist with a variety of tests to ensure both packaged and agricultural-produced foods are safe for consumption. For example, they may be responsible for conducting ongoing tests to ensure food is safe to eat. They test for the presence of bacteria that could cause foodborne illness if consumed. These tests could be conducted on meat products, fruits and vegetables, or packaged food items.
Food science technicians may also assist with testing packaged foods to ensure that ingredients and amounts of ingredients match the nutritional information labels that appear on their packaging. They validate that listed ingredients are comprehensive, and that the amounts and types of ingredients lead to the calorie, fat, and sodium amounts listed on the labels. They also validate that ingredients in items adhere to safety standards set by food distribution laws and regulations.
Other food science technicians work alongside food scientists who are responsible for developing new food recipes. For example, food science technicians could work alongside food scientists to develop new recipes for candy, condiments, or canned goods. These food science technicians work in food manufacturing and develop the recipes for innovative new food products that can be sold in grocery stores throughout the U.S.
Typical Work Schedule
Most food science technicians work full-time schedules during normal business hours. Some may be required to work overtime, to travel for work, or to work irregular shifts, but these requirements are uncommon.
Food science technicians commonly work for government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, for food production or manufacturing companies, for universities, or in agriculture.
How To Become a Food Science Technician
It’s possible to work as a food science technician for some industries with only a high school diploma. However, experience in the field is usually necessary. With only a high school diploma, you’ll have to start off in entry-level positions in food manufacturing or agriculture and work your way into a food science technician role by accruing many years of experience. While this is certainly an achievable means of finding work in the field, it will limit your advancement into higher-paying positions.
Most mid-level food science technician positions require candidates to hold an associate’s degree in a related field, such as biology, chemistry, or animal science. During college, students should learn about the basic components of food and animal products, should spend time in labs conducting tests and experiments, and should lean to recognize dangerous bacteria under a microscope. With an associate’s degree, you should be able to find work in the field even without previous professional experience.
Some employers—universities and government agencies, for example—may require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree. If you decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree, the same majors are appropriate as you would have taken for an associate’s degree: biology, chemistry, or animal science. This is an ideal path for individuals who want to advance into the most senior-level food science technicians positions over the course of their career, or who are considering becoming food scientists in the future.
Food Science Technician Salary Data
We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Anual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Food Science Technician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Food Science Technician's can make an average annual salary of $39,000, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $29,050 or $14 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#544 Nationally for All Careers
Programs and Degrees
Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Food Science Technician. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.
Highest Education Among Food Science Technicians
- 0.7% Doctorate
- 3.3% Masters
- 22.1% Bachelors
- 10.5% Associates
- 25.8% College
- 29% High School
- 8.6% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs33,000
2024 Est. Jobs34,700
Job Growth Rate5.2%
Est. New Jobs1,700
How does Food Science Technician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 1,700 jobs for a total of 34,700 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.2% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#432 Nationally for All Careers
What Companies Employ The Most Food Science Technicians
|Industry||Current Jobs||New Jobs Needed||% Increase|
|Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state||5,600||200||0%|
|Animal production and aquaculture||4,000||300||0%|