How Do I Become a Food Chemist?

Whitney Leigh White

In order to become a food chemist, you will need an extensive amount of knowledge in relation to chemistry, food production, biology, and more. At the least, most employers will require you to hold a bachelor’s degree. In addition to proper education, taking part in internships and professional associations is beneficial when wanting to become food chemist. This career field requires that you have excellent problem sensitivity and critical thinking skills as well. There are two main career paths that you can take as this type of chemist, which include performing basic or applied research.

Chemical properties of food are the main concern of a food chemist.
Chemical properties of food are the main concern of a food chemist.

As you begin your education to become a food chemist, your courses will focus on both organic and food chemistry, microbiology, and food processing. Some employers will prefer for you to have a master’s degree, and this curriculum simply goes more in-depth on the subjects studied in a bachelor’s program. If you are seeking a food science occupation in academia, you will need a doctorate degree. There are also certifications that you can obtain as a food chemist, and you will need the appropriate type if seeking an occupation related to quality and assurance control.

While you finish your educational requirements, it is best to obtain an internship and participate in professional associations. In fact, many master’s and doctorate degree programs require you to obtain an internship. These types of job placements are often found in product development companies and beverage plants. Professional associations are advantageous because they can help you to find scholarships and provide you with volunteer opportunities. The Society of Flavor Chemists is an excellent association to join if you want to become a food-flavor chemist. Speak with your college advisor to see what types of associations you should join.

To become a food chemist, you must master an abundance of skills and abilities. Your reading comprehension should be top-notch, as well as your active listening and writing abilities. Since there are strict compliance guidelines that must be followed as this type of chemist, you must also know how to evaluate information in a manner that meets legal standards. Employers will require you to be dependable, pay strong attention to detail, and to be honest and ethical.

It depends on the career path that you take as a food chemist that determines what employment opportunities you will have. If you become a food chemist that performs basic research, you will most likely find a job through government or academia agencies. As one that performs applied research, occupations can usually be found through ingredient suppliers or at food processing businesses.

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