Food Scientists

Career Overview

Career Overview

$68,830
median salary in 2020
37,400
jobs in 2020
9%
growth in the next ten years
List item iconConduct research and experiments to improve the productivity and sustainability of field crops and farm animals.
List item iconCreate new food products and develop new and better ways to process, package, and deliver them.
List item icon Study the composition of soil as it relates to plant growth, and research ways to improve it.
List item iconCommunicate research findings to the scientific community, food producers, and the public.
List item iconTravel between facilities to oversee the implementation of new projects.
List item iconConduct wide-scale research projects.

What It Takes

Food scientists play an important role in maintaining and expanding the nation’s food supply. Many work in basic or applied research and development. Basic research seeks to understand the biological and chemical processes by which crops and livestock grow. Applied research seeks to discover ways to improve the quality, quantity, and safety of agricultural products.

A Mathematical Mind

Agricultural and food scientists, like many other scientists, must have a sound grasp of mathematical concepts.

Critical Thinking

Food scientists must use their expertise to determine the best way to answer a specific research question.

Data-analysis skills

Agricultural and food scientists, like other researchers, collect data using a variety of methods, including quantitative surveys. They must then apply standard data analysis techniques to understand the data and get the answers to the questions they are studying.

Communication skills

Communication skills are critical for agricultural and food scientists. They must explain their studies: what they were trying to learn, the methods they used, what they found, and what they think the implications of their findings are. They must also communicate well when working with others, including technicians and student assistants.

Observation skills

Food scientists conduct experiments that require precise observation of samples and other data. Any mistake could lead to inconclusive or inaccurate results.

Career Progression

Career Progression

Step 1
Bachelor’s degree in a science
Step 2
Intern in food science lab
Step 3
Do original research for companies
Step 4
Graduate school
Step 5
Supervise lab work

Key Companies

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