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Food Processing Major

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Food Processing

0 Master's Degrees Annually
0 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#314 in Popularity (Master's)
$50,790 Median Salary

What Food Processing Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, food processing majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Food Processing Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in food processing should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Skills for Food Processing Majors

A major in food processing prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Abilities for Food Processing Majors

As a food processing major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

What Can You Do With a Food Processing Major?

People with a food processing degree often go into the following careers:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Agricultural Inspectors 4.5% $44,140
Agricultural Sciences Professors 7.9% $84,640
First-Line Supervisors of Agricultural Crop and Horticultural Workers 2.1% $46,960

How Much Do Food Processing Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Food Processing majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $45,970 to $90,890 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Food Processing Major  ( 45970 to 90890 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with food processing may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for food processing careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 3.5%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 34.0%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 6.5%
Some College Courses 11.4%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 8.9%
Bachelor’s Degree 8.8%
Master’s Degree 3.9%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.2%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.7%
Doctoral Degree 15.0%
Post-Doctoral Training 7.3%

Online Food Processing Programs

In 2018-2019, 30 schools offered a food processing program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 11 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 7 1
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 14 0
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 11 1
Master’s Degree 1 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 1 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Food Processing Worth It?

The median salary for a food processing grad is $50,790 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 27% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $217,800 after 20 years!

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Top Ranking Lists for Food Processing

You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to food processing.

Major Number of Grads
Plant Sciences 972
Animal Science 719
Food Science Technology 704
Agricultural Economics & Business 650
General Agriculture 327
Soil Sciences 164
Agricultural Production 163
Agricultural Public Services 143
International Agriculture 62
Other Agriculture 56
Horticulture 14
Agricultural Mechanization 1

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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