Fish processing supervisors oversee a team of workers who prepare fish for distribution and consumption. They train workers to clean, cut, and package fish. Many of these professionals start out as entry-level fish processors, who cut, prepare and package fish while on the job.
Those working in fish processing should have coordination and concentration skills, as well as physical stamina. At the supervisory level, fish processing professionals should be able to manage a team. Those working on the retail side should also have customer service skills.
In general, meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers earned a median annual salary of $23,870 in 2015, while industrial production managers earned $93,940 in that same year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
|Education Required||No education is required; associate's or bachelor's degrees are recommended for advancement|
|Degree Field||Aquaculture or fisheries; communication, science|
|Certification||Some states require workers to have health certificates|
|Key Skills||Concentration, coordination, physical stamina and physical strength, customer service|
|Salary (2014)||$23,350 per year (median salary for meat, poultry and fish cutters and trimmers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Get Training
An individual interested in becoming a fish processing supervisor can get started in the field by obtaining an entry-level position in a processing plant or retail store. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), food processors typically do not need formal education for these positions, but instead gain their training on the job (www.bls.gov). Workers also learn about maintaining health standards and sanitary practices.
Those working in retail and supermarkets may have to perform basic business practices as well. They may keep records, check inventory and buy quality fish from vendors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that some states require these workers to possess health certificates.
Step 2: Receive an Associate's Degree
Some schools offer 2-year programs in fisheries technology that includes courses in communication, math and science. These programs can also provide technical training in fish management, fish technology, spreadsheets, machine maintenance, statistics and business management.
Other programs may not offer specific courses in fish science, but they do provide an overview of food safety principles, food processing, food chemistry, nutrition and management.
Step 3: Earn a Degree
A bachelor's degree program in aquaculture or fisheries typically provides more science and liberal arts courses. It may include courses like chemistry, hatchery management, zoology, economics and ecology. These programs may help graduates have the critical skills to work in all types of aquaculture professions. Graduates with an undergrad degree can also pursue graduate education important to research and academic professions.
Step 4: Consider Advancement
Depending on the workplace, fish processors who want to advance to a supervisory role may need to get undergraduate education. Managers or lead workers may need an associate's or bachelor's degree in wildlife, fisheries, food science or aquaculture. Some workers can also go into business for themselves by opening their own stores.
Those who have an undergraduate degree can pursue fish-related occupations in government, hatcheries and other corporations. They can work in habitat restoration, survey fish populations and ensure water quality.
Once again, a fish processing professional can start out in an entry level position and work their way up to a management role, or they may earn an associate's or bachelor's degree to advance faster.