Food engineers utilize the latest innovative technology to process, package, preserve and improve food products. This type of engineer works in combination with the agricultural and food processing industry to ensure food safety, supply, nutrition and value.
A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, life sciences or food sciences is typically required to acquire an entry-level position in this field. Higher level degrees offer greater job opportunities and higher compensation.
Food engineers begin by acquiring a bachelor’s degree. A variety of undergraduate degrees may lead to a food engineering career including: natural sciences, agricultural sciences, life sciences or bioprocess engineering.
This profession offers excellent opportunities for growth and salary, but requires at least a bachelor’s degree and certification. Many national colleges note that 100% of their food engineer graduates acquire immediate employment upon graduation. Some universities state that they cannot keep up with the demand for food engineers.
This type of engineering professional utilizes a wide variety of capabilities even beyond those acquired through education. Food engineers generally need strong problem-solving skills, effective verbal and written communication and well-developed organizational abilities. Food engineers should be knowledgeable about process engineering, the chemical and physical properties of foods, microbiology and have an understanding of how machinery works with food products.
Depending on the specific job, a food engineer may do some or all of the following:
Food engineers often work for major corporations such as Frito-Lay, Kellogg, Nabisco and Kraft. Careers may also be found for food engineers within the government for agencies like the Food and Drug Administration or the Center for Disease Control.
According to the 2006 Census, food engineers earned an average of $62,400 per year. Upon graduating from college, most food engineers earn between $40,000 and $45,000 annually. With experience, it’s for this type of engineer to earn upwards of $90,000 to $100,000 per year. The Department of Labor anticipates that chemical engineering will grow faster than average over the next decade. Food engineering is considered one of the fastest developing professions for chemical engineers.