Food Technologist Training and Degree Programs
Food technologists assist with creating and improving foods, in addition to working on ways to keep food supplies safe. Find out what degree programs will help you enter this field, including online programs, and learn more about common courses and your career options.
What Types of Food Technologist Degree Programs Are Available?
A number of schools offer undergraduate or graduate study in food science or food technology. Common degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Food Science and Technology and a Master of Science in Food Technology. Some schools offer a Doctor of Philosophy in Food Science. You should look for schools that offer curricula approved by the Institute of Food Technologists to ensure a comprehensive education.
If you're seeking a distance learning program, some schools offer select undergraduate and graduate courses online. To offer additional flexibility, some schools have fully online master's programs in food science. Online learning typically takes place via recorded sessions that you can log on to at any time of day. However, these programs usually follow the same assignment and testing schedules as on-campus classes, so they aren't self-paced. Minimum technical requirements often include an Internet connection, a microphone and an e-mail account.
|Degree Options||Bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in food science; master's program available fully online|
|Common Undergraduate Courses||Food chemistry, safety and laws, development of food products, food composition|
|Common Graduate Courses||Nutrition, food microbiology, food packaging; thesis or dissertation may be required|
|Employer Industries||Government agencies, food companies, independent laboratories, pharmaceutical companies|
|Median Salary (2018)||$65,300 (for food scientists and technologists)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-26)||6% growth (for all food scientists and technologists)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Courses Will I Take?
As an undergraduate student, you'll learn about the processes and procedures that turn raw resources into the foods we buy and eat. As a future food technologist, you'll apply that knowledge to assist in the preservation, distribution, packaging and processing of food. A strong base and interest in math and science is recommended. Basic material in chemistry, biology and biochemistry is covered, as are food-specific courses in food microbiology, sensory science, food biotechnology and food analysis. Other subjects might include:
- Food composition
- Food chemistry
- Food engineering
- Food safety and laws
- Development of food products
- Science of food prep
Master of Science programs, which are offered in both thesis and non-thesis formats, usually examine food packaging, food product development and food quality. At the master's level, research courses often cover nutrition and sensory evaluation. Doctorate programs typically require you to submit and defend a dissertation. Courses might include advanced food microbiology and special problems in food science. Many graduate degree programs offer areas of concentration, such as meat science, packaging or food chemistry.
What Can I Do with This Degree?
With a degree in food science and technology, you'll be prepared to work for food companies, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies and independent laboratories. Entry-level work may entail sensory evaluations or food analysis. With more experience, food technologists might work in produce development, quality control or food engineering. With a master's or doctoral degree, you'll likely focus on research, consulting or teaching.