Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Career, Salary and Education Information

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Top 3 Agricultural Science Technicians Jobs

  • Agricultural Science Research Technician - Department Of Agriculture - Mandan, ND

    Maintains inventory of chemicals, prepares solutions and reagents for use in the laboratory and field, and safely disposes of waste material (both

  • Agricultural Science Research Technician - U.S. Department of Agriculture - Kimberly, ID

    Major Duties may include, but are not limited to: • Maintaining inventory of chemicals, stock solutions, etc., preparing solutions and reagents

  • Field Technician - Wilbur-Ellis - Rosebud, TX

    Come grow with us! General Purpose and Scope of Position: The Field Technician is a development role that

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Top 3 Food Science Technicians Jobs

  • Maintenance Technician 3rd Shift - Kerry Group - Melrose Park, IL

    Whether it's building sustainable solutions for consumers or building benefits and opportunities for employees, the main thread of the Kerry fabric

  • Lab Technician - Kerry Group - Union City, CA

    With a commitment toward sustainability and reputation for innovation, a career with Kerry offers you the chance to change the way the world views

  • Food Technologist Technician - Plant Sciences - North Dakota State University - Fargo, ND

    The

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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, which includes animal health, farm machinery, fertilizers, agricultural chemicals, or processing technology. Duties can vary considerably by specialization.

Agricultural science technicians typically study ways to increase 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 confirm the results of scientific experiments.

Food science technicians who work in manufacturing investigate 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 27,500 jobs. The largest employers of agricultural and food science technicians are as follows:

Food manufacturing 23%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 21
Support activities for agriculture and forestry 15
Professional, scientific, and technical services 14
Crop production 7

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 settings may face noise from processing and farming machinery, extreme temperatures, and odors from chemicals or animals. They may need to lift and carry objects, and be physically active for long periods of time.

Agricultural and Food Science Technician Work Schedules

Agricultural and food science technicians typically work full time and have standard work schedules. Technicians may need to travel, including international travel.

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. Some positions require candidates to have a bachelor's degree, and others a high school diploma or equivalent plus related work experience.

Education for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Students interested in a career as an agricultural or food science technician 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. Some agricultural and food science technician positions require a bachelor's degree.

Students may take courses in biology, chemistry, plant or animal science, and agricultural engineering as part of their programs. Programs include technical instruction and hands-on experience. Many schools offer internships, cooperative-education, and other programs designed to provide practical experience and enhance employment prospects.

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

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 by 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, accuracy, and math skills.

Communication skills. Agricultural and food science technicians must 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 processing 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 for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians

Workers who enter the occupation with only a high school diploma or equivalent often must have experience in a related occupation during which they develop their knowledge of agriculture or manufacturing processes. These related occupations include 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 $37,550. 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 $23,930, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,450.

The median annual wages for agricultural and food science technicians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Food manufacturing $36,850
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 36,700
Professional, scientific, and technical services 35,100

Agricultural and food science technicians typically work full time and have standard work schedules. Technicians may need to travel, including international travel.

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

Employment of agricultural and food technicians is projected to grow 6 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Demand will continue for agricultural research into areas such as the effects of population growth, increased demand for water resources, harm from pests and pathogens, changes in climate and weather patterns, and demand for agricultural products, such as biofuels.

Agricultural science technicians will be needed to assist agricultural and food scientists in investigating and improving the diets, living conditions, and even genetic makeup of livestock. Food science technicians will assist scientists to improve food-processing techniques, ensuring that products are safe, waste is limited, and food is shipped efficiently. Technicians will also continue to assist in studies that analyze soil composition and soil improvement techniques, find uses for agricultural byproducts, and selectively breed crops to resist pests and disease, or improve taste.

Employment projections data for Agricultural and Food Science Technicians, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Agricultural and food science technicians 27,500 29,200 6 1,700


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

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