Prospective food inspectors can pursue a formal education through majors such as examine foods in processing companies and restaurants for quality assurance. Selecting the appropriate program is the first step to a career in this field.
10 Schools with Food Science
Schools typically don't offer food inspection majors, but bachelor's and master's degree programs in food science can offer preparation. Here are some of the schools offering these programs:
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degree's Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016, undergraduate in-state & out-of-state)|
|Texas A&M University||College Station, TX||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,176; $28,768|
|Ohio State University||Columbus, OH||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,037; $27,365|
|Penn State University||University Park, PA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$17,514; $31,346|
|Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,560; $36,360|
|Rutgers University||Camden, NJ||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$14,000; $28,890|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$6,381; $28,659|
|University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign||Champaign, IL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$15,054; $30,214|
|University of Minnesota||Minneapolis, MN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$13,790; $22,210|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||Madison, WI||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,415; $29,665|
|Purdue University||West Lafayette, IN||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral||$10,002; $28,804|
Source: *NCES College Navigator
Find schools that offer these popular programs
School Selection Criteria
Food science degree programs usually focus on food processing, production, preservation, safety and evaluation. Since schools vary in their offerings, common considerations include:
- Food inspectors typically have a background in science, so students should find out program prerequisites regarding specific coursework.
- For those who have already earned a bachelor's degree, many schools offer master's and doctoral programs in food science and health promotion.
- Look for a school with food quality testing experiences, such as research centers, food labs or on-campus processing centers.
- Find a school that offers research experience as they may enhance job outlook.
Bachelor of Science
Undergraduate programs may have a food science club to help students network, raise money and attend professional conferences. Many programs encourage undergraduates to participate in internships with food companies or food processing firms. Students choose an emphasis, such as business or food technology.
Master of Science
Those with a graduate degree in food science may find jobs as researchers and developers. Programs may offer emphases in areas such as microbiology, engineering, toxicology and food safety. Master's programs generally have thesis and non-thesis options, though all students complete a final project. Students learn to identify microorganisms, track changes in food composition over time and analyze food.
Doctor of Philosophy
Those with a doctoral degree in food science typically conduct research rather than act as inspectors in the food-processing industry. All doctoral candidates must pass qualifying examinations and complete a dissertation. They may be required to publish their dissertation research in scientific journals. Candidates may research topics in food safety or quality enhancement.
Programs in food science are offered on many levels and prepare interested individuals for a career in food inspection. Some important considerations for a potential student are desired work environment, career goals, and time commitment.