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Career profile Food Science Technician

Also known as Central Lab Technician (CLT), Food Science Technician, Laboratory Assistant (Lab Assistant), Quality Analyst, Quality Assurance Analyst (QA Analyst), Quality Control Technician (QC Technician), Quality Technician

Food Science Technician

Also known as Central Lab Technician (CLT), Food Science Technician, Laboratory Assistant (Lab Assistant)

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$28,650 - $66,620 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Chemistry
Core tasks
  • Supervise other food science technicians.
  • Conduct standardized tests on food, beverages, additives, or preservatives to ensure compliance with standards and regulations regarding factors such as color, texture, or nutrients.
  • Record or compile test results or prepare graphs, charts, or reports.
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What does a Food Science Technician do?

Food Science Technicians work with food scientists or technologists to perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.

In addition, Food Science Technicians includes technicians who assist in research and development of production technology, quality control, packaging, processing, and use of foods.

What kind of tasks does a Food Science Technician perform regularly?

Food Science Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Conduct standardized tests on food, beverages, additives, or preservatives to ensure compliance with standards and regulations regarding factors such as color, texture, or nutrients.
  • Record or compile test results or prepare graphs, charts, or reports.
  • Maintain records of testing results or other documents as required by state or other governing agencies.
  • Monitor and control temperature of products.
  • Taste or smell foods or beverages to ensure that flavors meet specifications or to select samples with specific characteristics.
  • 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.
  • Provide assistance to food scientists or technologists in research and development, production technology, or quality control.
  • Analyze test results to classify products or compare results with standard tables.
  • Train newly hired laboratory personnel.
  • Measure, test, or weigh bottles, cans, or other containers to ensure that hardness, strength, or dimensions meet specifications.
  • Mix, blend, or cultivate ingredients to make reagents or to manufacture food or beverage products.

The above responsibilities are specific to Food Science Technicians. More generally, Food Science Technicians are involved in several broader types of 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.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
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.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

What is a Food Science Technician salary?

The median salary for a Food Science Technician is $41,970, and the average salary is $45,920. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Food Science Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Food Science Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Food Science Technicians earn less than $28,650 per year, 25% earn less than $34,550, 75% earn less than $53,250, and 90% earn less than $66,620.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Food Science Technicians is expected to change by 7.9%, and there should be roughly 3,700 open positions for Food Science Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$41,970
Typical salary range
$28,650 - $66,620
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
7.9%

What personality traits are common among Food Science Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Food Science Technician are usually higher in their Realistic, Investigative, and Conventional interests.

Food Science Technicians typically have strong Realistic interests. 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.

Also, Food Science Technicians typically have strong Investigative interests. 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.

Lastly, Food Science Technicians typically have strong Conventional interests. 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.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Food Science Technician tend to value Support, Relationships, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Food Science Technicians very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Food Science Technicians moderately value 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.

Lastly, Food Science Technicians moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Food Science Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Food Science Technicians, ranked by importance:

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.

What education and training do Food Science Technicians need?

Food Science Technicians often have training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Food Science Technicians 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 this occupation.

Educational degrees among Food Science Technicians

  • 9.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 24.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 21.4% completed some college coursework
  • 15.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 22.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 4.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Food Science Technicians

Food Science Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, customer and personal service, or chemistry knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Food Science Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
Administrative
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Food Science Technicians

Food Science Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Food Science Technicians need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and written expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Food Science Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Critical Skills needed by Food Science Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Food Science Technicians frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and writing to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Food Science Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
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.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Science
Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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