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Working as a Food Technologist and Technician

Job Description

Working as a Food Technologist or Technician may perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Develop and test new food products, and search for new food sources
  • Ensure quality and flavour remain consistent
  • Determine the fat, sugar, vitamin, or mineral content of products
  • Research ways to improve testing, preservation, packaging, and manufacturing methods
  • Some enforce health and safety regulations

Source: Career Cruising database

Industry Overview

This is a relatively new and growing occupation sector.

Food research is expected to increase because the public is more aware of nutrition, food safety. The job growth in this industry will be in private sector.

There are currently 260 members registered with British Columbia Food Technologists, the organization representing food scientists and technologists in the province. Across Canada, there are 1200 members of the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Source: BC Food Technologists

Job Outlook in BC

Technical Occupations in Physical Sciences (NOC 221)

job outlook technical occupations in physical sciences

Chart from WorkBC

The Employment Outlook for BC provides job openings projections for chemical technologists & technicians, which includes food technicians and technologists, within BC regions:

Region 2010
Estimated Employment
2015
Estimated Employment
Avg Annual % Change, 5 Years, 2010-2015
Vancouver Island 490 500 0.5%
Lower Mainland /Southwest 1,960 2,180 2.3%
Thompson-Okanagan 260 270 0.7%
Kootenay 70 80 3.1%
Cariboo 70 70 -0.8%
North Coast & Nechako 50 50 0.3%
Northeast 40 40 1.0%

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

The Employment Outlook for BC 2007-2017 provides job openings projections for biologists and related scientists, which includes food scientists, within BC regions:

Region 2010
Estimated Employment
2015
Estimated Employment
Avg Annual % Change, 5 Years, 2010-2015
Vancouver Island 720 740 0.5%
Lower Mainland /Southwest 1,820 2,000 2.1%
Thompson-Okanagan 360 370 0.5%
Kootenay 70 80  4.1%
Cariboo 100 90 -0.6%
North Coast & Nechako 60 60 -0.1%
Northeast 50 50  0%

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

You can learn more about working in the food technology sector in BC from

  • WorkBC Career Profiles [Search Chemical Technologists & Technicians; Biological Technologists & Technicians; and Biologists & Related Scientists]

Types of Employers

Food scientists work for universities, colleges, government-run research agencies, and private companies in the food processing industry.

Salary

Entry-level positions can start at approximately $35,000 a year. With experience, food scientists can earn $40,000 to $80,000 a year, though some in senior positions make as much as $100,000 a year.

Full-time food scientists usually receive benefits, such as dental coverage, paid vacation, and sick days.

From Career Cruising database (Profile for Food Scientist).

Job Bank Canada, Wage Reports, provides hourly wages in BC regions:

Chemical technologists and technicians, including food technologists and technicians (NOC 2211):

food technologists and technicians regional wage

Source: Job Bank Canada

Biologists and related scientists, including food scientists (NOC 2121):

biologists and related scientists, including food scientists regional wage

Source: Job Bank Canada

Working Hours

Food technologists and technicians generally work a standard 35 to 40 hours per week. However, evening and weekend shifts may be required in order to meet deadlines. Most work on a full-time basis.

Skills, Education and Experience

Skills

  • Ability to communicate technical information clearly
  • Problem solving skills
  • Ability to analyze
  • Good eye for detail
  • Patience and persistence
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Creativity

Source: Work BC

Education and Experience

Food technologists are usually required to have completed a two or three-year college program in chemical, biochemical, or chemical engineering technology or a related discipline.

Food technicians are usually required to have completed a one or two-year college program in chemical, biochemical, or chemical engineering technology.

Food scientists are required to have completed a bachelor’s degree in food science or a related scientific discipline, such as biology or chemistry as a minimum. However, a master’s degree will increase one’s chances of advancement, and is important for those aiming for senior research or management positions.

Some people enter food science with related college diplomas. However, they are usually limited to food technician positions in the private sector.

Source: WorkBC Career Profiles [Search Chemical Technologists & Technicians]  and Career Cruising database (Profile for Food Scientist).

Qualifications

Licensing Requirements for Food Technologists & Technicians

Food technologists and technicians can apply for professional certification through the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of B.C. (ASTTBC).

The following criteria must be met:

  • Applied Science Technologist (AScT) designation – completion of an accredited diploma program and two years of industry work experience
  • Certified Technician (CTech) designation – completion of an accredited certificate program and two years of industry work experience
  • One year of the work experience must be in Canada for both designations

Internationally trained professionals

Internationally trained professionals may qualify for ‘Provisional’ membership provided that the foreign academics and experience are acceptable. You must successfully complete the one year of required Canadian experience for full certification:

Certification for chemical technologists is also available through the Canadian Society of Chemical Technology. Designation as a Certified Chemical Technologist (CCt) normally requires graduation from an accredited program and at least two years of industry work experience.

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources, as well as through professional associations’ publications.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    (see categories 1630-2019, “Science/Engineering Professionals”)
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For food technologists & technicians, look for these related job titles:

  • Agricultural Technician or Technologist
  • Food Processing Quality Control Technician or Technologist
  • Food Bacteriological Technician or Technologist

For food scientists, look for these related job titles

  • Food Products Bacteriologist
  • Food Products Scientist
  • Food Research Scientist

Source: NOC [search 2211; 2221; and 2121]

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of companies who employ food technologists & technicians in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Canadian Company Capabilities
    Try searching by NAICS 541710 (Research & Development in the Physical, Engineering & Life Sciences) or 541380 (Testing Laboratories) or search by keyword (i.e. “food technology”). You can narrow search by province or city.
  • Food in Canada
    Resource guide in the January/February issue and buyers’ guide in the October issue Available at the Central Library 664.05 F6861 and online
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “food” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, use the following pathfinders:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for food technologists and technicians in BC and Canada provide assistance to individuals. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. You’ll find recent editions at the Central Library:

  • Food in Canada / Maclean-Hunter
    Also available at the Central Library, 664.05 F6861