Although food manufacturing production jobs don't typically require formal education, pursuing a certificate or degree in this field can broaden career opportunities. Certificate programs teach students the fundamentals of food science, bachelor's programs offer foundational knowledge in food manufacturing and processing, and master's programs allow students to engage in focused research in the manufacturing process and the development of food products.
Master's degree applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree, preferably in a natural science, as a prerequisite.
Food Science Certificate
Certificates in food science introduce the conceptual foundations of food production and safety. The programs can be completed in several weeks and cover food-related natural science and food safety standards. Certificates are beneficial for entry-level job qualification and prepare for bachelor's degree study in food science.
Through introductory nutrition and science courses, students gain perspective of fundamental food science terminology and the processing methods used in food production plants. Students can expect introductory courses in:
- Food safety
- Microbiology and food chemistry foundations
- Food processing methods
- Quality assurance
Bachelor's Degree in Food Science
Four-year bachelor's degree programs in food science, such as the Bachelor of Art (B.A.) in Food Science or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Nutrition and Food Science, apply an in-depth study of chemistry, biology and nutrition to food-related research. Depending on whether the program awards a B.A. or B.S., students may focus on chemistry or natural and biological sciences. Many programs include an internship or professional experience component that can prepare graduates for medical school or careers with food processing, government agencies, public health and other food services related areas.
Students engage in multiple natural sciences through classroom lectures and lab work. In addition to scientific coursework, students study mathematics, food manufacturing and processing and the food research methods. Topics of study include:
- Government food regulations
- Food microbiology
- Food engineering
- Food manufacturing
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Food Processing
- Food Science
- Food Technology
Master's Degree in Food Science
Graduate programs expose students to advanced research methods and lab work through studies in food engineering, chemistry, microbiology and nutrition. Master's degree programs in food science generally take two years to complete and typically award degrees such as the Master of Science (M.S.) in Food Science and Technology and M.S. in Food Science and Nutrition.
Master's degree programs continue advanced scientific study of the chemical and biological makeup of food and further develop research skills for food product innovation and improvement. Students may be required to write a graduate thesis and participate in an internship. Advanced courses include:
- Organic and inorganic chemistry
- Food fermentation
- Food manufacturing technologies
- Food product research and development
Food scientists are crucial for advancing the food industry in terms of quality, nutrition and safety. Food scientists work for food manufacturing companies, research firms and government agencies. Other industry occupations include:
- Food plant manager
- Food regulation specialist
- Product research and development
- Quality assurance supervisor
Food scientists and technologists lead the way in innovative research to improve multiple aspects of food quality and production, such as nutritional value, preservation and safety. Food scientists may work in scientific research services. The BLS reported that food scientists and technologists held roughly 14,660 jobs in 2015 and earned an annual median salary of $65,840 in the same year. These professionals could see average job growth of 3% from 2014 to 2024, according to the BLS.
Doctorate degree programs are available for graduates of a master's degree program who are interested in pursuing research or academic careers in food science. Available degree programs include the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Food Science, Ph.D. in Food Science and Human Nutrition, Ph.D. in Food Production, Ph.D. in Food Systems and other related Ph.D. programs.
Although food production jobs don't generally require formal education, certificate programs in food manufacturing train students in the basics of food safety, quality assurance and food processing methods. Bachelor's and master's degrees continue study in the more advanced topics of food engineering, government regulations and product research and development.