Agricultural and food science technicians typically need an associate’s degree in animal science or a related field. Technicians who have only a high school diploma typically get more on-the-job training than do those with a college degree.
People interested in this occupation should take as many high school science and math classes as possible. A solid background in applied chemistry, physics, and math is vital.
Agricultural and food science technicians typically need an associate’s degree in animal science or a related field from an accredited college or university. While in college, prospective technicians learn through a combination of classroom and hands-on learning, such as an internship.
A background in the biological sciences is important for food and agricultural technicians. Students should take courses in biology, chemistry, animal science, and agricultural engineering as part of their programs. Many schools offer internships, cooperative-education, and other experiential programs designed to enhance employment prospects.
Technicians with a high school diploma usually complete an extensive training program under the supervision of a more-experienced technician. These training programs can last a year or more.
Analytical skills. Agricultural and food science technicians must conduct a variety of observations and on-site measurements, all of which require precision and accuracy.
Critical-thinking skills. Agricultural and food science technicians reach conclusions through sound reasoning and judgment. They determine how to improve food quality and must test products for a variety of safety standards.
Interpersonal skills. Agricultural and food science technicians need to work well with others. They may supervise agricultural and food science workers and receive instruction from scientists or specialists, so effective communication is critical.
Listening skills. Agricultural and food science technicians must follow instructions given to them by food scientists and agricultural engineers.
Speaking skills. Agricultural and food science technicians must give clear instructions to field and laboratory workers, who typically perform the tasks necessary for food quality testing.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition