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Summary Report for:
19-4011.02 - Food Science Technicians

Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.

Sample of reported job titles: Central Lab Technician (CLT), Food Science Technician, Laboratory Assistant (Lab Assistant), Lab Tech (Laboratory Technician), Operations Technician, Quality Analyst, Quality Assurance Analyst (QA Analyst), Quality Control Technician (QC Technician), Quality Technician, Technical Services Analyst

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Record or compile test results or prepare graphs, charts, or reports.
  • Conduct standardized tests on food, beverages, additives, or preservatives to ensure compliance with standards and regulations regarding factors such as color, texture, or nutrients.
  • Maintain records of testing results or other documents as required by state or other governing agencies.
  • Taste or smell foods or beverages to ensure that flavors meet specifications or to select samples with specific characteristics.
  • Monitor and control temperature of products.
  • Compute moisture or salt content, percentages of ingredients, formulas, or other product factors, using mathematical and chemical procedures.
  • Perform regular maintenance of laboratory equipment by inspecting, calibrating, cleaning, or sterilizing.
  • Analyze test results to classify products or compare results with standard tables.
  • Provide assistance to food scientists or technologists in research and development, production technology, or quality control.
  • Train newly hired laboratory personnel.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

Extracting equipment for laboratories — Distilling equipment; Siphons
Handheld thermometer — Dry bulb thermometers; Handheld thermometers
Laboratory mechanical convection ovens — Hot air ovens; Laboratory convection ovens
pH meters — Universal indicators
Viscosimeters — Viscosity testing equipment; Zhan cups

Technology used in this occupation:

Data base user interface and query software — Database software; Microsoft Access
Graphics or photo imaging software — Graphics software
Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
Word processing software — Microsoft Word

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Knowledge

Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

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Skills

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.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

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Abilities

Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

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Work Activities

Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

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Work Context

Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 74% responded “Extremely important.”
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 84% responded “Every day.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 62% responded “Every day.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 54% responded “Extremely important.”
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 65% responded “Every day.”
Spend Time Standing — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 45% responded “Very important results.”
Time Pressure — 40% responded “Every day.”
Contact With Others — 56% responded “Constant contact with others.”
Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Extremely important.”

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include food service managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, occupational therapy assistants, and medical assistants.
SVP Range (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
32   High school diploma or equivalent Help
17   Bachelor's degree
14   Master's degree

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Life Sciences — Agricultural Animal Breeding; Animal Sciences; Animal Sciences, General; Dairy Science; Food Science and Technology

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Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses

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Interests

Interest code: RIC

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.
Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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.

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Work Styles

Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
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.
Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

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Work Values

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.
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.
Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

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Related Occupations

19-4011.01 Agricultural Technicians   Green Occupation Green
19-4021.00 Biological Technicians
19-4031.00 Chemical Technicians Green Occupation
19-4041.02 Geological Sample Test Technicians Green Occupation
29-2012.00 Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians Bright Outlook
29-2052.00 Pharmacy Technicians   Bright Outlook Bright Outlook  
43-5111.00 Weighers, Measurers, Checkers, and Samplers, Recordkeeping
45-2011.00 Agricultural Inspectors Green Occupation
51-3092.00 Food Batchmakers
51-9061.00 Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers Bright Outlook Green Occupation

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages data collected from Agricultural and Food Science Technicians.
Employment data collected from Agricultural and Food Science Technicians.
Industry data collected from Agricultural and Food Science Technicians.

Median wages (2013) $16.72 hourly, $34,790 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 26,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Slower than average (3% to 7%) Slower than average (3% to 7%)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 10,100
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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