Food Industry Jobs that Pay Well

There are several food industry careers related to both production and consumption that pay well. Find out about the median salaries and education requirements for some of these jobs.

Food Industry Career Options that Pay Well

The food industry offers several careers that make a median annual salary greater than $50,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2016. These careers vary greatly in job duties, but all involve food in some way. Compare and contrast a few of the food industry jobs that pay well below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Dietitians and Nutritionists $58,920 14%
Food Scientists and Technologists $63,950 6%
Soil and Plant Scientists $62,300 9%
Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers $66,360 7%
Food Service Managers $50,820 9%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for Food Industry Jobs that Pay Well

Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dietitians and nutritionists work with clients to discuss food and nutrition to promote healthy lifestyles and were reported to make a median annual salary of $58,920 in 2016, per the BLS. They assess their clients' nutritional needs and create individualized meal plans to help manage disease and promote healthy eating. Dietitians and nutritionists closely monitor the progress of their clients and may create and/or provide additional educational material concerning diet and nutrition. These professionals usually need a license and must complete an internship along with their bachelor's degree in the field.

Food Scientists and Technologists

Food scientists and technologists specialize in studying the elements of food and made a median salary of $63,950 in 2016, according to the BLS. They study food using biology and chemistry, look for new food sources and figure out ways to improve processed foods. These professionals aim to make food safer and healthier for consumers and may also inspect food-processing areas to ensure compliance with all government regulations. Many food scientists and technologists hold an advanced degree, but must have at least a bachelor's degree.

Soil and Plant Scientists

The BLS recorded soil and plant scientists as making a median salary of $62,300 in 2016, and these scientists work with food and crop developers to improve crops. Soil scientists focus on studying soil composition and how its makeup affects crop growth and productivity. Plant scientists examine various ways to improve crop yield, such as controlling weeds or pests. Similar to food scientists and technologists, these scientists must have at least a bachelor's degree, but are likely to pursue an advanced degree.

Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers

Some farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers work to raise crops and livestock for consumption and made an annual median salary of $66,360 in 2016, per the BLS. These managers must make decisions concerning the growth and development of their crops and/or animals based on market trends, soil conditions and other factors. They also oversee the maintenance of their facilities, maintain financial information and act as sales agents for their products. Most farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers learn through work experience and have at least a high school diploma.

Food Service Managers

The BLS stated that food service managers had a median salary of $50,820 in 2016. These professionals manage the daily activities of a restaurant or other eating establishments that serve food and drinks to customers. They may oversee the food preparation and make sure that the presentation of food is appealing, as well, and ensure that all food safety standards are met. These managers also supervise employees, manage budgets and address any complaints or problems from customers. Some food service managers have postsecondary education, but typically only need a high school diploma and some work experience.

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