Summary Report for:
19-1012.00 - Food Scientists and Technologists
Use chemistry, microbiology, engineering, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, sugar, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, preserve, store, and distribute food.
Sample of reported job titles: Food and Drug Research Scientist, Food Chemist, Food Scientist, Food Technologist, Product Development Scientist, Quality Control Inspector (QC Inspector), Research Chef, Research Food Technologist, Research Scientist, Seafood Technology Specialist
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing, and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.
- Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management.
- Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.
- Study methods to improve aspects of foods, such as chemical composition, flavor, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience.
- Stay up to date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.
- Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.
- Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.
- Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.
- Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.
- Study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing.
- Demonstrate products to clients.
- Develop new food items for production, based on consumer feedback.
- Seek substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives, such as nitrites.
- Analytical or scientific software — BioDiscovery ImaGene; Insightful S-PLUS; MDS Analytical Technologies GenePix Pro; STATISTICA (see all 6 examples)
- Data base user interface and query software — PathogenTracker; U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA National Nutrient Database
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Air samplers or collectors — Air sampling systems
- Amino acid analyzers
- Anaerobic chamber — Anaerobic growth chambers
- Analytical balances
- Atomic absorption AA spectrometers
- Bench refractometers or polarimeters — Differential refractometers
- Blanching machinery — Steam blanchers
- Blast freezers
- Calorimeters — Computerized calorimeters
- Color sensors — Color difference meters
- Commercial use deep fryers — Batch fryers
- Commercial use food choppers or cubers or dicers — Food choppers
- Commercial use food grinders — Meat grinders
- Commercial use food slicers — Food slicers
- Commercial use griddles — Griddles
- Commercial use grills — Grills
- Commercial use microwave ovens — Commercial microwave ovens
- Commercial use mixers — Food mixers
- Commercial use ranges — Induction cooktops; Ranges
- Commercial use steamers — Steam kettles
- Conductivity meters
- Cooking machinery — Jet cooking systems; Thermal processing equipment
- Crushing machinery — Food crushers; Fruit presses; Pulper finishers
- Cutting machinery — Meat saws
- Darkfield microscopes — Phase contrast microscopes
- Dehydrating machinery — Drum dryers; Food dehydrators
- Dehydrators — Dehydration equipment
- Desktop computers
- Dry wall single chamber carbon dioxide incubators — Carbon dioxide CO2 laboratory incubators
- Electronic counters — Laser colony counters
- Electrophoresis system accessories — Fraction collectors
- Extracting equipment for laboratories — Extractors
- Fat extractors — Specific gravity fat analyzers
- Filling machinery — Piston filling machines; Stuffers
- Flask or retort units — Retort sterilization equipment
- Fluorescent microscopes — Epifluorescence microscopes
- Forced air or mechanical convection general purpose incubators — Programmable incubators
- Freeze dryers or lyopholizers — Freeze drying equipment
- Gas chromatographs — Gas chromatographs GC
- Gel documentation systems — Gel electrophoresis equipment
- High pressure liquid chromatograph chromatography — High pressure liquid chromatograph HPLC equipment
- Ice cream machines — Ice cream freezers
- Infrared spectrometers — Fourier transform infrared FTIR spectrometers; Infrared IR spectrometers
- Ion chromatographs
- Juicing machinery — Dejuicers
- Kjeldahl nitrogen determination apparatus — Macro kjeldahls; Micro kjeldahls
- Laboratory balances — Electronic laboratory balances
- Laboratory blenders or emulsifiers — Emulsifiers; Pulsifiers
- Laboratory box furnaces — Muffle furnaces
- Laboratory diluters — Automatic diluters
- Laboratory heat exchange condensers — Heat exchangers; Plate heat exchangers; Tubular heat exchangers
- Laboratory mechanical convection ovens — Laboratory ovens
- Laboratory membrane filters — Membrane filtration systems
- Laboratory mills
- Lasers — Laboratory lasers
- Light scattering equipment — Dynamic light scattering equipment
- Manual or electronic hematology differential cell counters — Coulter counters
- Mass spectrometers
- Melting point recorders — Melting point apparatus
- Microbiological aircontrol equipment — Microbial monitoring systems
- Microbiology analyzers — Bacterial identification systems; Spiral platers
- Microplate readers — Scanning plate readers
- Nephelometers — Benchtop nephelometers
- Nitrogen or nitrate or nitrite analyzer — Nitrogen analyzers
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Orbital shaking water baths
- Oscilloscopes — Digital oscilloscopes
- Oxygen gas analyzers — Oxygen analyzers
- Packaging vacuum — Vacuum packagers
- Personal computers
- pH meters — pH indicators
- Refrigerated benchtop centrifuges — High speed refrigerated centrifuges
- Roasting machinery — Roasting equipment
- Scanning electron microscopes — Scanning electron microscopes SEM
- Solution strength estimation apparatus — Torsion gelometers
- Spectrofluorimeters or fluorimeters — Spectrofluorimeters; Ultraviolet UV spectrometers
- Spectrometers — Reflectance spectrometers
- Standard fermentation units — Fermenting tanks
- Steam autoclaves or sterilizers — Steam autoclaves
- Sterilization cabinets — Biological safety cabinets
- Strain gauges — Strain testers
- Sugar analyzers — Glucose analyzers
- Temperature cycling chambers or thermal cyclers — Thermal cyclers
- Thermal differential analyzers — Dynamic mechanical analyzers DMA
- Thermo gravimetry analyzers — Thermal gravimetric analyzers
- Tissue culture incubators — Bioreactors
- Vacuum or rotary evaporators — Rotary evaporators
- Viscosimeters — Amylographs; Viscometers
- Water analysis systems — Water activity meters
- Water baths — Laboratory water baths
- X ray diffraction equipment — X ray crystallography equipment
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
- 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.
- Food Production — Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- 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.
- 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.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- 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.
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- 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).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- 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.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
Detailed Work Activities
- Evaluate quality of materials or products.
- Inspect areas for compliance with sanitation standards.
- Evaluate new technologies or methods.
- Research methods to improve food products.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Collaborate with technical specialists to resolve design or development problems.
- Establish standards for products, processes, or procedures.
- Test quality of materials or finished products.
- Confer with clients to exchange information.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 77% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 65% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 50% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 54% responded “Very important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 54% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Letters and Memos — 58% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Time Pressure — 62% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 35% responded “Some freedom.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 54% responded “Some freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 54% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 46% responded “High responsibility.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 38% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 50% responded “About half the time.”
- Level of Competition — 38% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 46% responded “Important results.”
- Deal With External Customers — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 31% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Physical Proximity — 62% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
|Title||Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.|
|Related Experience||A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.|
|Job Zone Examples||Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: IRC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- 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.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- 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.
- 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.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2018)||$31.39 hourly, $65,300 annual|
|Employment (2016)||17,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2016-2026)||Average (5% to 9%)|
|Projected job openings (2016-2026)||1,800|
|Top industries (2016)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 wage data and 2016-2026 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2016-2026). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- AACC International
- American Association of Candy Technologists
- American Chemical Society
- American Dairy Science Association
- American Meat Science Association
- American Society for Quality
- American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
- American Society of Baking
- AOAC International
- Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association
- International Association for Food Protection
- North American Meat Institute
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Agricultural and food scientists
- Research Chefs Association
- The American Oil Chemists' Society