What can I do with a Food Science degree?

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY

AREAS

Quality Assurance
Food Safety
Quality Inspection
Process Inspection
Production Management
New Food/Flavor Chemistry
Sensory Evaluation
Applied Food Research

  • Preserving
  • Processing
  • Packaging
  • Storing
  • Delivering

Sales
Marketing
Consumer Education

EMPLOYERS

Food processing plants
Food manufacturing plants
Food ingredient suppliers
Food equipment suppliers
Container manufacturers
Large retail chains, e.g. Starbucks, Target
Feed companies
Dairy, beef, or hog farms
Federal government including:

  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Department of Agriculture

Sate governments

STRATEGIES

Earn a minor in business or agribusiness. Become adept using computers. Take courses in statistics. Gain relevant experience through internships. Participate in student professional organizations and seek leadership roles. Compete on a meat or dairy products judging team. Join the Institute of Food Technologists to learn more about the field and for networking opportunities. Develop strong interpersonal and communication skills. Learn to work well in a team. Earn a graduate degree for advanced opportunities in research or management. Demonstrate creativity and curiosity for positions in product or flavor development.

SCIENCE

AREAS

Basic Research
Food Microbiology/Food Chemistry
Product Development
Food Engineering
Food Safety
Quality Inspection
Quality Assurance
Process Inspection

EMPLOYERS

Federal government including:

  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Environmental Protection Agency

State governments
Food processing plants
Food manufacturing plants
Food ingredient suppliers
Food equipment suppliers
Quality-control laboratories
Pharmaceutical companies
Universities and colleges

STRATEGIES

Join the Institute of Food Technologists to learn more about the field and for networking opportunities. Gain related experience through internships. Assist a professor with research to gain laboratory experience. Take additional courses in the sciences. Become highly detail oriented. Participate in research paper competitions sponsored by professional associations. Research apprentice membership in the Society of Flavor Chemists if that is an area of interest. Obtain a graduate degree to reach higher levels of research and administration. A doctoral degree is required for university teaching.

PRE-PROFESSIONAL

AREAS

Medicine
Pharmacy
Dentistry
Veterinary Sciences
Other Healthcare Fields

EMPLOYERS

Hospitals
Clinics
Private or group practice
Health networks
Nursing homes
Rehabilitation centers
Mental health institutions
Federal, state, & local health departments
Government agencies
Armed services
Correctional facilities
Colleges and universities
Pharmaceutical companies
Retail pharmacy chains
Research laboratories
Animal food companies
Zoos

STRATEGIES

Food science is good preparation for professional graduate programs in pharmacy, veterinary science, dentistry, or medicine because of the strong science background that is developed. Research admissions requirements for individual programs. Maintain a high grade point average and prepare for required entrance exams. Secure strong personal recommendations from faculty. Gain exposure to field of interest through volunteering, part-time and summer jobs, or internships. Research accredited institutions. Check graduation rates, success rates on licensing exams, cost, location, etc. If possible, speak with current students. Develop back-up career plans in case admission is denied.

GENERAL INFORMATION

The food processing industry is one of the largest in the US and throughout the world, so many opportunities exist for students trained in food science.

A bachelor's degree is sufficient for some opportunities in applied research and in food processing. Earn a master's or doctoral degree to conduct basic research. The PhD. is required for university teaching.

A high percentage of food scientists work for local, state or federal government. Learn government application procedures.

Learn to work both independently and as part of a team.

Develop strong communication skills both written and oral. Also develop analytical skills and an attention to detail.

Join professional associations and student organizations to stay abreast of current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts. Get involved with the Institute of Food Technologists.

Talk to professionals already in your desired field regarding their backgrounds. Arrange a shadowing experience.

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