Agriculture and Garden Careers | Food and Agricultural Scientist / Technologist

Food and Agricultural Scientist / Technologist

Career Area: Science and Research

Occupation Group: Biological Science

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Food and Agricultural Scientist / Technologist earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $43,451

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $51,895

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Studies plants and animals used in food production. Researches topics related to improving quality and productivity in agriculture and livestock farming, or food science and nutrition. May specialize in applying food science to food product development.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina205+6.6%
Nationwide4833+5.9%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Food and Agricultural Scientist / Technologist is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Detail-Oriented: A detail oriented person is someone who pays attention to the details and can make a conscious effort to understand causes instead of just the effects, and that does this in a second nature type of way.
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Physical Abilities: Physical Abilities, which refers to the ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with the body, arms, and/or legs. These abilities often require strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination.
  • Research: Experience performing creative and systematic work to understand a product, market, or customer, either before building a new solution, or to troubleshoot an existing issue
  • Microsoft Excel: Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet developed by Microsoft for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. It features calculation, graphing tools, pivot tables, and a macro programming language called Visual Basic for Applications.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Food Safety: Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness.
  • Food Science: Food science is the applied science devoted to the study of food.
  • Product Development: In business and engineering, new product development (NPD) covers the complete process of bringing a new product to market.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Working experience of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Personal protective equipment consists of types of equipment that is worn to reduce exposure to hazardous materials.
  • Chemistry: Chemistry is a branch of physical science that studies the composition, structure, properties and change of matter.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Food and Agricultural Scientist / Technologist that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Packaging: Packaging is the technology of enclosing or protecting products for distribution, storage, sale, and use.
  • Food Industry Knowledge: Requires Food Industry Knowledge, which is The food industry is a complex, global collective of diverse businesses that supplies most of the food consumed by the world population
  • Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP): Working experience of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), which is a systematic preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes that can cause the finished product to be unsafe, and designs measurements to reduce these risks to a safe level.
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP): Good manufacturing practices (GMP) are the practices required in order to conform to the guidelines recommended by agencies that control authorization and licensing for manufacture and sale of food, drug products, and active pharmaceutical products.
  • Microbiology: Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms, those being unicellular (single cell), multicellular (cell colony), or acellular (lacking cells).

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years74%
3 to 5 years19%
6 to 8 years4%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Food Safety Sanitor 3Rd
  • Food Safety Sanitor
  • Food Safety Sanitor 2Nd
  • Food Scientist
  • Food Technologist

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