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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Science Technicians in Alexandria, Virginia

There are many career and education opportunities for food science technicians in the Alexandria, Virginia area. The national trend for food science technicians sees this job pool growing by about 8.8% over the next eight years. Food science technicians generally perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.

Food science technicians earn approximately $13 per hour or $28,610 annually on average in Virginia. Nationally they average about $16 per hour or $33,990 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical, people working as food science technicians in Virginia earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical nationally. Jobs in this field include: taste tester, malt specifications control assistant, and quality assurance manager .

There are eighty-four schools of higher education in the Alexandria area, including one within twenty-five miles of Alexandria where you can get a degree to start your career as a food science technician. 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 Alexandria 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.
  • Biological Sciences Technician. Assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.
  • 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.
  • Forensic Investigator. Collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, or biochemistry.
  • 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

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has 2 areas of study related to Food Science Technician. They are:

  • Animal Sciences, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated forty-two, two, and eight students respectively in 2008.
  • Food Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated seven, two, and one students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Alexandria, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria, Virginia photo by SchuminWeb

Alexandria is situated in Alexandria City County, Virginia. It has a population of over 143,885, which has grown by 12.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Alexandria, 124, is far greater than the national average.

The three big industries for women in Alexandria are professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and construction. The average commute to work is about 30 minutes. More than 54.3% of Alexandria residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Alexandria is 4.6%, which is less than Virginia's average of 6.4%.

Church of Resurrection Episcopal, Agudas Achim Synagogue and Alexandria Bible Church are some of the churches located in Alexandria.

Alexandria is home to the Circle Terrace Hospital and the Kate Waller Barrett Branch as well as Marina Park and Founders Park. Shopping centers in the area include Hamlet Shopping Center, Landmark Shopping Center and Arlandria Shopping Center. Visitors to Alexandria can choose from Comfort Inn-Landmark, Best Western Old Colony Inn and Hilton Inn for temporary stays in the area.