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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Science Technicians in Madison, Wisconsin

If you want to be a food science technician, the Madison, Wisconsin area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 620 jobs for food science technicians in Wisconsin and this is projected to grow 5% to about 640 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for food science technicians are expected to grow by about 8.8%. 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 about $16 hourly or $35,000 yearly on average in Wisconsin and about $16 hourly or $33,990 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical, people working as food science technicians in Wisconsin earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Life Science Technical nationally. Jobs in this field include: quality assurance laboratory technician , quality analyst, and chemist.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Madison area, including one within twenty-five miles of Madison 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 it will take about four years to learn to be 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 Madison 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.
  • 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

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, WI 53706-1380. University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large university located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 41,581 students and an admission rate of 63%. University of Wisconsin-Madison has 3 areas of study related to Food Science Technician. They are:

  • Animal Sciences, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated four, one, and three students respectively in 2008.
  • Dairy Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated two, three, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Food Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, one, and seven students respectively in 2008.


Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin photo by Dori

Madison is situated in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 231,916, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Madison, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Madison are valued at $243,800 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Madison, down from three hundred seventy-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Madison are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 48.2% of Madison residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 20.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Madison is 5.2%, which is less than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Madison residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Gates of Heaven Synagogue, Abundant Life Church and Grace Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in Madison. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Madison is home to the Allen Centennial Gardens and the Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain as well as Bordner Park and Brigham Park. Shopping centers in the area include Brookwood Village Shopping Center, Whitney Square Shopping Center and Walnut Grove Shopping Center. Visitors to Madison can choose from Comfort Inn Madison, Howard Johnson-Plaza Hotel and Country Inn Sts Madison for temporary stays in the area.