Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 Agricultural Science Technician Jobs

  • Farm Technician - Ferrum College - Ferrum, VA

    Hours for this position will be Monday-Friday, 4 hours per day, occasional Saturday and Sunday hours, as needed. Exact schedule will be established

  • Facilities Technician - Hunter International Inc - Drake, MO

    Measure emissions from industrial sources including smokestacks, boilers, and processing equipment • Repairing and maintaining a variety of large

  • Quality Technician - Gates Corp - Houston, TX

    If you are looking for an opportunity

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Top 3 Food Science Technician Jobs

  • Micro Technician - Food Safety Net Services - Fresno, CA

    MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS • High School diploma or GED • Associate degree in Life Science or two years of laboratory experience • Working

  • Laboratory Technician - INTERAMERICAN FOODS CORPORATION - Cleburne, TX

    KNOWLEDGE/SKILLS/ABILITIES: • Knowledge of Food Safety Systems and HACCP • Knowledge of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP’s) • Ability to

  • Food Science Sensory Technicians - Penn State University - University Park, PA

    The position is part-time (up to 20 hours/week) and the typical testing work schedule is from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Monday-Friday. Inquiries

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What Agricultural and Food Science Technicians Do[About this section] [To Top]

Agricultural and food science technicians assist agricultural and food scientists by performing duties such as measuring and analyzing the quality of food and agricultural products. Duties range from typical agricultural labor with added recordkeeping duties to laboratory testing with significant amounts of office work, depending on the particular field the technician works in.

Duties of Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Specific duties of these technicians vary with their specialty.

Agricultural science technicians typically do the following:

  • Follow protocols to collect, prepare, analyze, and properly store crop or animal samples
  • Operate farm equipment and maintain agricultural production areas to conform to scientific testing parameters
  • Examine animal and crop specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems
  • Measure ingredients used in animal feed and other inputs
  • Prepare and operate laboratory testing equipment
  • Compile and analyze test results
  • Prepare charts, presentations, and reports describing test results

Food science technicians typically do the following:

  • Collect and prepare samples in accordance with established procedures
  • Test food, food additives, and food containers to ensure that they comply with established safety standards
  • Help food scientists with food research, development, and quality control
  • Analyze chemical properties of food to determine ingredients and formulas
  • Compile and analyze test results
  • Prepare charts, presentations, and reports describing test results
  • Prepare and maintain quantities of chemicals needed to perform laboratory tests
  • Maintain a safe, sterile laboratory environment

Agricultural and food science technicians often specialize by subject area. Some popular subjects are animal health, farm machinery, fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, and processing technology. Duties can vary considerably with the specialization, because work settings may vary.

Agricultural science technicians who work in private industry typically focus on increasing the productivity of crops and animals. These workers may keep detailed records, collect samples for analyses, ensure that samples meet proper safety and quality standards, and test crops and animals for disease or to otherwise confirm the results of scientific experiments.

Food science technicians who work in private industry typically evaluate food and crops while investigating new production or processing techniques. They also ensure that products will be fit for distribution or are produced as efficiently as expected. Many food science technicians spend time inspecting foodstuffs, chemicals, and additives to determine whether they are safe and have the proper combination of ingredients.

Work Environment for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Agricultural and food science technicians hold about 33,000 jobs.

The industries that employ the most agricultural and food science technicians are as follows:

Food manufacturing 19%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 17
Animal production and aquaculture 12
Crop production 11
Support activities for agriculture and forestry 8

Technicians work in a variety of settings, including laboratories, processing plants, farms and ranches, greenhouses, and offices. Technicians who work in processing plants and agricultural work settings may face noise from processing and farming machinery, extreme temperatures, and odors from chemicals or animals.

Agricultural and Food Science Technician Work Schedules

Agricultural and food science technicians typically work full time and have standard work schedules. Some of these technicians work longer hours, have variable schedules, or travel extensively.

How to Become an Agricultural or Food Science Technician[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians near you!

Agricultural and food science technicians typically need an associate’s degree in biology, chemistry, crop or animal science, or a related field. Many positions require a bachelor’s degree. For those positions requiring only a high school diploma, technicians typically need to have previous work experience. Technicians often receive on-the-job training that may cover topics such as production techniques, personal hygiene, and sanitation procedures.

Agricultural and Food Science Technician Education

Students interested in this occupation should take as many high school science and math classes as possible. A solid background in applied chemistry, biology, physics, math, and statistics is important. Knowledge of how to use spreadsheets and databases also may be necessary.

Agricultural and food science technicians typically need an associate’s degree in biology, chemistry, crop or animal science, or a related field from an accredited college or university. Many agricultural and food science technician positions require a bachelor’s degree. While in college, prospective technicians learn through a combination of technical instruction and hands-on experiences, such as internships.

Some agricultural and food science technicians successfully enter the occupation with a high school diploma but typically need related work experience and on-the-job training that may last a year or more.

A background in the biological or chemical sciences is important for most agricultural and food science technicians. Students may find it helpful to take courses in biology, chemistry, plant or animal science, and agricultural engineering as part of their programs. Many schools offer internships, cooperative-education, and other programs designed to provide hands-on experience and enhance employment prospects.

Agricultural and Food Science Technician Training

Agricultural and food science technicians typically undergo on-the-job training. Various federal government regulations outline the types of training needed for technicians, which varies according to the work environment and specific job requirements. Training may cover topics such as production techniques, personal hygiene, and sanitation procedures.

Important Qualities for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Analytical skills. Agricultural and food science technicians must conduct a variety of observations and on-site measurements, all of which require precision and accuracy.

Communication skills. Agricultural and food science technicians must be able to understand and give clear instructions, keep detailed records, and, occasionally, write reports.

Critical-thinking skills. Agricultural and food science technicians reach conclusions through sound reasoning and judgment. They determine how to improve food quality and must test products for a variety of safety standards.

Interpersonal skills. Agricultural and food science technicians need to work well with others. They may supervise agricultural and food science workers and receive instruction from scientists or specialists, so effective communication is critical.

Physical stamina. Agricultural and food science technicians who work in manufacturing or agricultural settings may need to stand for long periods, lift objects, and generally perform physical labor.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Workers who enter the occupation with only a high school diploma often must have years of experience in a related occupation during which they develop their knowledge of agriculture or manufacturing processes. For more information, see the profiles on food and tobacco processing workers and agricultural workers.

Agricultural and Food Science Technician Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for agricultural and food science technicians is $36,480. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,450, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,270.

Agricultural and food science technicians typically work full time and have standard work schedules. Some of these technicians work more than standard full-time schedules, have variable schedules, or travel extensively.

Job Outlook for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of agricultural and food technicians is projected to grow 5 percent through 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Advances in technology and scientific knowledge related to food production will require greater control of the production and processing activities, increasing demand for these workers. Continued population growth will drive the need to make production and processing methods more efficient. Greater awareness and enforcement of food safety regulations will expand inspection requirements, increasing the need for agricultural and food science technicians as producers and manufacturers seek ways to improve the quality of their products.

Employment projections data for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Agricultural and food science technicians 33,000 34,700 5 1,600


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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