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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Technologists in Jacksonville, Florida

If you want to be a food technologist, the Jacksonville, Florida area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. About 260 people are currently employed as food technologists in Florida. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 6% to about 270 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for food technologists, which sees this job pool growing by about 16.3% over the next eight years. In general, food technologists use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.

A person working as a food technologist can expect to earn about $20 per hour or $42,740 yearly on average in Florida and about $28 per hour or $59,520 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Food technologists earn less than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Florida and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. People working as food technologists can fill a number of jobs, such as: quality assurance manager , technical director, and research chef.

The Jacksonville area is home to thirty-three schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Jacksonville where you can get a degree as a food technologist. Food technologists usually hold a Doctoral degree, so you can expect to spend four or five years studying to be a food technologist if you already have a Bachelor's degree, or eight to ten years starting with a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Food Technologist

Food Technologist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, food technologists use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.

Food technologists check raw ingredients for safety and nutritional value. They also study methods to further optimize aspects of foods, such as chemical composition and convenience. Equally important, food technologists have to design new or improved ways of preserving and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry and other sciences. They are often called upon to study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing. Finally, food technologists evaluate food processing and storage operations and help in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.

Every day, food technologists are expected to be able to think through problems and come up with general rules. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they be creative and generate new ideas.

It is important for food technologists to talk with process engineers and packaging and marketing specialists to deal with problems in product development. They are often called upon to test new products for flavor and adherence to government and industry standards. They also design food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications. They are sometimes expected to inspect food processing areas to insure adherence to government regulations and standards for sanitation and waste management standards. Somewhat less frequently, food technologists are also expected to demonstrate products to clients.

Food technologists sometimes are asked to demonstrate products to clients. They also have to be able to evaluate food processing and storage operations and help in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations And finally, they sometimes have to search for substitutes for harmful or undesirable additives.

Like many other jobs, food technologists must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Jacksonville include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Food Technologist Training

University of Florida - Gainesville, FL

University of Florida, 355 Tigert Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-3115. University of Florida is a large university located in Gainesville, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 51,475 students and an admission rate of 41%. University of Florida has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Food Science which graduated one, twenty-seven, and three students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida photo by Digon3

Jacksonville is located in Duval County, Florida. It has a population of over 807,815, which has grown by 9.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Jacksonville, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Jacksonville are valued at $173,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 2,592 new homes were built in Jacksonville, down from 3,449 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Jacksonville are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 21.1% of Jacksonville residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Jacksonville is 10.9%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Jacksonville residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.2%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Church of God-West Jacksonville, Church of Good Shepherd and Church of Our Savior are among the churches located in Jacksonville. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Jacksonville is home to the Pearl Plaza and the Lane Center as well as Memorial Park and James Park. Shopping centers in the area include 5 Points West Shopping Center, Lone Star Road Shopping Center and Normandy Mall. Visitors to Jacksonville can choose from Civista Inn, Best Western Baldwin Inn and City Center Motel for temporary stays in the area.