Food science technicians assist food scientists by measuring and testing food, additives and related products. They compile and analyse test results on composition and quality, and present findings to their superiors. Food science technicians prepare chemicals and lab equipment and maintain a safe, sterile working environment.
Duties and responsibilities
- Prepare food samples, chemicals, lab equipment and other testing materials
- Perform standardised tests on food, additives, preservatives and beverages to assess safety and quality
- Taste or smell food or beverages to determine flavour quality or other desired characteristics
- Analyse chemical properties of food to determine ingredients, formulas and content percentages
- Measure and test food and beverage containers for strength, durability and other requirements
- Assist food scientists in research and development, quality control and improved production
- Mix or cultivate ingredients to manufacture new food and beverage products
- Examine food and chemical samples to identify cell structure or contaminants
- Compile, record and analyse test results
- Present findings to superiors using reports, charts and graphs
- Train new laboratory staff
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Standard business hours
Food science technicians typically work full time during normal business hours. You may spend a lot of your day in a laboratory or office. Other work locations include farms, greenhouses and processing plants. You may have to travel, including internationally.
Depending on the environment, food science technicians can be subjected to unpleasant smells and loud machinery noises. You may have to lift and carry materials and could spend several hours a day on your feet.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor’s degree in crop science
Food science technicians usually need an associate's degree in chemistry, crop science or a related field. Some employers prefer a bachelor's degree. High school students interested in food science should pursue coursework in chemistry, biology, physics, math and statistics.
Even without a college degree, some food science technicians land a job with related work experience. Many schools offer internships and cooperative education programmes that offer practical experience along with your education.
Food science technicians typically receive on-the-job training according to federal regulations. Topics can vary according to your work environment and role but training typically includes safety and sanitation procedures.
Acquiring advanced knowledge, skills and experience as a food science technician can lead to larger projects and more responsibility. Earning an advanced degree will allow you to transition into the role of food scientist. You may also consider related careers as an agricultural manager or environmental scientist.