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Career and Education Opportunities for Food Technologists in Madison, Wisconsin

Food technologists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Madison, Wisconsin area. About 520 people are currently employed as food technologists in Wisconsin. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 10% to about 570 people employed. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for food technologists are expected to grow by about 16.3%. 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.

Income for food technologists is about $23 per hour or $49,310 yearly on average in Wisconsin. Nationally, their income is about $28 hourly or $59,520 yearly. Earnings for food technologists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Life Sciences in Wisconsin and not quite as good as general Life Sciences category earnings nationally. People working as food technologists can fill a number of jobs, such as: enologist, research scientist, and swine nutritionist.

The Madison area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Madison where you can get a degree as a food technologist. Given that the most common education level 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 if you have 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 Madison include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Epidemiologist. Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

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 bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Food Science which graduated one, one, and seven students respectively in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Madison, Wisconsin

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.