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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Technologists in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for food technologists in the Las Cruces, New Mexico area. The national trend for food technologists sees this job pool growing by about 16.3% over the next eight years. Food technologists generally 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.

The average wage in the general category of Life Sciences jobs is $30 per hour or $61,698 per year in New Mexico, and an average of $30 per hour or $62,473 per year nationwide. Jobs in this field include: quality assurance director , research and development manager , and product development manager.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Las Cruces where you can study to be a food technologist, among six schools of higher education total in the Las Cruces area. The most common level of education for food technologists is a Doctoral degree. It will take four or five years to learn 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 Las Cruces 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.
  • 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.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • 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

New Mexico State University-Main Campus - Las Cruces, NM

New Mexico State University-Main Campus, 2850 Weddell Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001. New Mexico State University-Main Campus is a large university located in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 17,198 students and an admission rate of 61%. New Mexico State University-Main Campus has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Agriculture which graduated two and four students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Las Cruces, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico photo by Yassie

Las Cruces is situated in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. It has a population of over 91,865, which has grown by 23.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Las Cruces, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Las Cruces are valued at $133,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, six hundred thirty-two new homes were built in Las Cruces, down from nine hundred eighty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Las Cruces are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.4% of Las Cruces residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 12.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Las Cruces is 5.6%, which is less than New Mexico's average of 7.5%.

The percentage of Las Cruces residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 77.3%, is more than both the national and state average. Mesilla Park Baptist Church, Greater Saint John Church of God in Christ and Valley View Baptist Church are among the churches located in Las Cruces. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Las Cruces is home to the Mesquite Street Original Townsite Historic District and the Walden Hall as well as Frenger Park and Preciado Park. Visitors to Las Cruces can choose from Scoggin Blue LLC, SpringHill Suites Las Cruces and Villa Del Telshor Apartments & Corporate Suites for temporary stays in the area.