Become a Food Safety Auditor: Education and Career Roadmap

Mar 06, 2020

Find out how to become a food safety auditor. Research the education requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in food safety.

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Should I Be a Food Safety Auditor?

Food safety auditors inspect food processing plants, commercial slaughterhouses, and other food manufacturing businesses to ensure safety and sanitation regulations are upheld. They work for private companies and government agencies. Travel is required for inspections and work takes place in noisy, cold, or less than pristine surroundings.

Food safety auditors have bachelor's degrees, though some positions are open to those with high school diplomas and many years of experience in food processing or manufacturing. Optional certifications are sought by potential employers.

Career Requirements

Food safety auditors have bachelor's degrees in food science or a related field. They have strong communication, analytic, and decision-making skills, along with the ability to work with databases and scientific software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for all food scientists and technologists was $65,300 in 2018.

Steps to Be a Food Safety Auditor

What steps do I need to take to be a food safety auditor?

Step 1: Complete a Bachelor's Degree

Earning a bachelor's degree helps maximize an aspiring food safety auditor's job prospects. Many universities offer degree programs in food science, which prepare students for careers in food safety. Some employers will hire food safety auditors with degrees in other majors, though the employers prefer majors to be science-related.

It's a good idea to complete an internship while you're in school. Completing an internship offers students work experience that is useful when applying for a first job.

Step 2: Get an Entry-Level Job

After completing a bachelor's degree, new graduates should look for jobs in the food safety industry. The federal government hires entry-level food safety auditors, as do some private firms. If you can't find a job as a safety auditor right away, seek work in food manufacturing, since this experience leads to work as a safety auditor.

Be sure to learn the industry standards. New food scientists should take the time to learn various manufacturing and safety standards during their employment. Some employers provide on-site training.

Step 3: Obtain Professional Certification for Career Advancement

Certification programs pertinent to food safety auditors include certification in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and the Institute of Food Technologists' Certified Food Scientist (CFS) credential. Qualifications for both programs include passing a certification exam and supplying evidence of work experience. Those applying for a CFS credential must have bachelor's degrees at the minimum.

Remember to recertify. Each certifying body has its own standards for renewal of certification. Food safety auditors should make a note of renewal dates and make certain they meet the standards for recertification, which include completing continuing education courses or retaking a certification exam.

Food safety auditors inspect food processing and manufacturing businesses to ensure safety and sanitation. They have bachelor's degrees in addition to skills in communication, analysis, and decision making. And they earned a median annual salary of $65,300 in 2018, per the BLS.

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