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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Science Technicians in Salem, Oregon

For those living in the Salem, Oregon area, there are many career and education opportunities for food science technicians. Currently, 330 people work as food science technicians in Oregon. This is expected to grow 15% to 380 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for food science technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 8.8% over the next eight years. In general, food science technicians perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.

Food science technicians earn about $14 hourly or $30,100 annually on average in Oregon and about $16 per hour or $33,990 yearly on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical, people working as food science technicians in Oregon earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical nationally. Jobs in this field include: dairy technologist, confectionery technologist, and quality control manager .

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Salem where you can study to be a food science technician, among seventeen schools of higher education total in the Salem area. Food science technicians usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a food science technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Food Science Technician

In general, food science technicians perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.

Food science technicians record and compile test results, and ready graphs, charts, and reports. Finally, food science technicians analyze test results to classify products, or compare results with standard tables.

Every day, food science technicians are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to write clearly and communicate well. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for food science technicians to compute moisture or salt content, percentages of ingredients or other product factors, using mathematical and chemical procedures. They are often called upon to taste or smell foods or beverages to insure that flavors meet specifications, or to decide on samples with specific characteristics. They also furnish assistance to food scientists and technologists in research and development and quality control. They are sometimes expected to conduct standardized tests on food and preservatives to insure adherence to standards and regulations regarding factors such as color and nutrients. Somewhat less frequently, food science technicians are also expected to mix or cultivate ingredients to make reagents or to manufacture food or beverage products.

Food science technicians sometimes are asked to examine chemical and biological samples to pinpoint cell structures and to identify bacteria, or extraneous material, using a microscope. and measure and weigh bottles, cans, and other containers to insure hardness and dimensions that meet specifications. And finally, they sometimes have to analyze test results to classify products, or compare results with standard tables.

Like many other jobs, food science technicians must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Salem include:

  • Agricultural Technician. Set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.
  • Chemical Laboratory Technician. Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.
  • Food Technologist. 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.
  • Forestry and Wildlife Manager. Compile data pertaining to size, content, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • 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 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Food Science Technician Training

Linn-Benton Community College - Albany, OR

Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd SW, Albany, OR 97321. Linn-Benton Community College is a medium sized college located in Albany, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,576 students. Linn-Benton Community College has an associate's degree program in Animal Sciences which graduated two students in 2008.

Oregon State University - Corvallis, OR

Oregon State University, , Corvallis, OR 97331. Oregon State University is a large university located in Corvallis, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,308 students and an admission rate of 86%. Oregon State University has 2 areas of study related to Food Science Technician. They are:

  • Animal Sciences, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated seventy-two and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Food Science, bachelor's degree which graduated 17 students in 2008.

Chemeketa Community College - Salem, OR

Chemeketa Community College, 4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305. Chemeketa Community College is a large college located in Salem, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,000 students. Chemeketa Community College has 2 areas of study related to Food Science Technician. They are:

  • Crop Production, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated three and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Food Science, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.