In simple terminology, a food scientist studies food and its components and applies them to research and observations to develop more nutritious and safe products. If you are interested in discovering new foods for consumption, pursuing a career in food science might be the way to go.
Recently, there has been an increase in the demand for food scientists due to climate change and the readiness of people to explore new things. To this end, more people are now interested in becoming food scientists.
However, it is one thing to want to become a food scientist; knowing how to go about it is another. In this regard, we have teamed up with experts from job aggregators Jooble to discuss the essential tips for becoming a food scientist. Let’s get started.
Suppose you’re interested in pursuing a career as a food scientist. You must earn a degree in food science first, as it is an essential requirement to commence your career. You can focus your studies on any food science-related discipline such as Biochemistry, Botany, food science and nutrition, and chemistry. However, it is essential to note that a bachelor’s degree in food science, as crucial as it is, will only earn you an entry-level position.
Suppose you genuinely want to advance your career. In that case, you must earn graduate degrees and professional certifications because food science is a highly complex career, and it is not advisable to stop at the primary level.
The experience, they say, is the best teacher. After getting your bachelor’s degree or while still at it, you should take up internship roles in industries that deal with a food science or other related disciplines. This will prepare you for the task ahead. You don’t want to enter the sector without background career knowledge; If you rush in, you might run out.
In today’s world, the possibilities of getting a job without prior experience are slim, which is precisely what an internship will give you. So, it is advisable to showcase the right attitude to work and always assure your boss that you’re competent enough. Another essential advantage of internships is that they allow you to network with people already in the industry before you; these people can serve as career mentors and even put you up for opportunities when they surface.
After your degree and completing one or more internship programs, you should choose a career path that best suits you. Selecting a preferred career path will prepare you for your postgraduate degree program since most food scientists get to specialize at the postgraduate degree level.
You can choose several career paths as a good scientist, viz: agricultural research, toxicology or nutrition science, chemical engineering, etc., so you can pursue a career in management such as becoming a project leader or managing a department like research and development or quality control.
After you have chosen a career path that you prefer, up next is to start applying for graduate degree programs in the colleges of your choice. More so, if you’re the type that wants to research certain food substances, you should earn your master’s degree; nobody will take the analysis of a bachelor’s degree holder seriously. In the same vein, if you want to lecture others by securing a job in a college, you need to have a Ph.D. degree.
Should a postgraduate degree be the end of your learning? No! Food science is a discipline that keeps advancing every day, and you can’t afford to be left out. You must continue to update your knowledge at every given opportunity by taking professional courses and earning relevant certifications. Among the precessional certifications, you might want to consider a certificate in commercial food science, an advanced cooking career & technical certificate, a certificate in food safety supervisor, or a certificate in international food & beverage operations.
By joining a professional food association such as the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), you can stay up to date on the latest trends available in the industry and network with the sound, meaningful members of the industry. You can also have a tangible relationship with the community of food innovators, professionals, and other icons in the field. This will enable you to learn, unlearn and relearn. Also, if you have any difficulty in your career, you can easily share it with them. There is a possibility that they’ve experienced a similar situation in the past, making it easy for them to bail you out with their wealth of experience.
Becoming a food scientist is not as easy as it seems, especially when you don’t know the right way to go about it. However, we have explained the essential tips for becoming a food scientist and how to stay relevant in the field. We hope you find this article helpful.