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Agriculture and Food Science Technician

Career Overview

Agriculture and food science technicians conduct sampling and testing of food products for the purpose of research and development. Some work with agronomists and other scientists on tests and experiments to improve crop quality or to increase the resistance of plants and animals to disease, pests and drought. Other agricultural technicians breed animals that are used by food scientists to investigate nutritional value. Food additives and preservatives also lead to tests performed by food science technicians, to monitor compliance with Food and Drug Administration regulations.

Education

Some agriculture and food science technicians prepare for their career with an associate's degree in a related field. There are existing courses of study specifically directed at agricultural science and food development. Those who wish to work up to a supervisorial role may wish to get a bachelor's degree in agriculture science or a related field such as biology or nutrition. Experience in the field is the key to advancement.

Employment

There were an estimated 26,000 agriculture and food science technicians working in the U.S. in 2006. Twenty percent worked for food processing companies; over thirty percent worked in educational services; the balance were employed by agricultural businesses.

Job Outlook

Job growth for the agriculture and food science field is projected to be about the same as the projected average for overall job growth. The development of genetically altered crops and other experiments in biotechnology may lead to increase monitoring both by governmental agencies and agribusiness.

Salary

Lowest 10% $22,190

Median Salary $33,990

Highest 10% $53,880

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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