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Agricultural And Food Science Technicians Career

Career Description

Agricultural and Food Science Technicians work with agricultural scientists in food, fiber, and animal research, production,  and processing; assist with animal breeding and nutrition work; under supervision, conduct tests and experiments to improve yield and quality of crops or to increase the resistance of plants and animals to disease or insects. Include technicians who assist food scientists or food technologists in the research, development, production technology, quality control,  packaging, processing, and use of foods.

Common Work Tasks

  • Work with related scientists to conduct research, development, and testing on food and other agricultural products
  • Involved in food, fiber, and animal research,  production, and processing
  • Conduct tests and experiments to improve the yield and quality of crops or to increase the resistance of plants and animals to disease, insects, or other hazards
  • Breed animals for the purpose of investigating nutrition
  • Assist food scientists and technologists in research and development, production technology, and quality control
  • Conduct tests on food additives and preservatives to ensure compliance with Food and Drug Administration regulations regarding color, texture, and nutrients
  • Analyze, record, and compile test results and order supplies to maintain laboratory inventory
  • Clean and sterilize laboratory equipment

Other Job Titles

Agricultural and Food Science Technicians are also known by other titles, including:

  • Science Technicians
  • Biological Technicians
  • Food Scientists
  • Animal Scientists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
 
There are several ways to qualify for a job as a science technician.  Many employers prefer applicants who have at least 2 years of specialized training or an associate degree in applied science or science-related technology. Because employers’ preferences vary, however, some science technicians have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology, or forensic science or have completed several science and math courses at a 4-year college.

Experience
     
Good communications skills are important for prospective agricultural and food science technicians in industry, who often need to explain technical matters to persons without statistical expertise. An understanding of business and the economy also is valuable for those who plan to work in private industry.

Salary

The median annual salary of an Agricultural and Food Science Technician is $33,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $51,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $22,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of agricultural and food science technicians are:

  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $35,720
  • Scientific Research and Development Services - $39,300
  • State Government - $33,350
  • Animal Slaughtering and Processing - $28,700
  • Dairy Product Manufacturing - $35,780

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  7%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 1,700
  • Employment 2006 : 26,000
  • Employment 2016:  28,000
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