Become a Food Manufacturer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Learn how to become a food manufacturer. Research the job description and education requirements, and find out how to start a career in food manufacturing. View article »

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  • 0:04 Should I Be A Food…
  • 0:52 Career Requirements
  • 1:50 Earn an Undergraduate Degree
  • 2:43 Obtain Work Experience
  • 3:12 Get Certified

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Food Manufacturer?

There are many possible careers in the food manufacturing field, but this video focuses on management and quality supervision positions. Food manufacturing supervisors and managers provide leadership and oversee all aspects of the production process. They provide direction, solve problems, resolve conflict, conduct meetings, share information, track budgets, ensure that quality and safety regulations are followed and prepare schedules.

These professionals work full-time and sometimes have to work extra hours or stay late to handle unplanned situations. They work in an office environment, as well as walk the loud and sometimes dangerous floors of plants and manufacturing facilities. However, managers in this field make higher-than-average salaries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Food Processing
  • Food Science
  • Food Technology

Career Requirements

Degree Level Associate's or bachelor's degree preferred
Degree Field Engineering, business, food science, chemistry or a related field
Certification Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) certification preferred by some employers
Experience 2 to 5 years of related professional experience
Key Skills Strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent leadership and interpersonal skills, problem solving and decision making abilities, ability to adapt to a fast-paced and changing work environment, knowledge of production systems, including fasteners, lubrication, drives, transmission systems, motion systems, pneumatics, hydraulics and electrical controls, ability to read and understand production performance reports, understanding of cost accounting, experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SAP software
Salary (2015) $54,926 yearly (median for production supervisors)

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Payscale.com

Food manufacturing supervisors should hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in engineering, business, food science, chemistry, or a related field. The hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) certification is preferred by some employers and most also look for 2-5 years of related professional experience.

Key skills include: Strong written and verbal communication skills, excellent leadership and interpersonal skills, problem solving and decision making abilities, ability to adapt to a fast-paced and changing work environment, knowledge of production systems, ability to read and understand production performance reports, understanding of cost accounting, and experience with Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and AP software.

As of 2015, the median annual salary for production supervisors was $54,926, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree

There are several educational paths to becoming a food manufacturing supervisor. An associate's or bachelor's degree in business, engineering technology, food science or chemistry are all valuable degrees, and educational preferences vary by employer and specific line of work.

A bachelor's degree in food science with a focus in business might include coursework in chemistry, biology, writing, accounting, food science, food chemistry and quality assurance. Most associate's degree programs take 2 years to complete, while most bachelor's degree programs take 4 years.

Success Tip

  • Apply for an internship. Food manufacturing companies might offer internship programs that provide students with the hands-on experience they need to gain employment.

Step 2: Obtain Work Experience

Most food manufacturers require candidates to have at least 2 years of experience in a manufacturing setting and some previous leadership experience. An entry-level or engineering associate position can help provide the skills and experience needed for a management position. Engineering associates might learn technical production skills, gain leadership skills and expand their knowledge to other areas such as human resources, quality and logistics.

Step 3: Get Certified

Some employers require candidates for advanced food manufacturing positions to be certified. For example, a quality control supervisor might need HAACP certification. Many schools offer training courses designed to provide students with extensive knowledge of food quality and safety procedures. Additionally, some companies have on-site workshops that prepare employees for HAACP certification. Course topics include microbial contaminants, meat and poultry processing and fresh produce.

Hopeful food manufacturing supervisors should earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in business, engineering technology, food science, or chemistry, then seek work experience at an entry level position and get certified.

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