USA Career Guide- Agricultural and Food Scientists

Education needed to be Agricultural and Food Scientists

A bachelor's degree in agricultural science from an accredited post-secondary institution is all that is needed for some jobs, but a master's or doctoral degree is required to do basic research. A Ph.D. in agricultural science is needed for college teaching. Some scientists earn a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). Most animal scientists earn a Ph.D.

All States have a land-grant college that offers agricultural science degrees. Many other colleges and universities also offer agricultural science degrees or some agricultural science courses.

Certification

The American Society of Agronomy certifies agronomists and crop advisors, and the Soil Science Society of America and the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) certifies agricultural and food  scientists. Certification is not necessary to work in these occupations, but it may improve opportunities by providing proof of a worker’s qualifications.

According to the organizations, certification of professional expertise is broadly based on education, a comprehensive exam, and previous professional experience.

Job Prospects of Agricultural and Food Scientists

Employment of agricultural and food scientists is expected to increase by 10 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job growth among agricultural and food scientists should be faster than the average for all occupations. Opportunities are expected to be good over the next decade, particularly in food science and technology and in agronomy.

Pay of Agricultural and Food Scientists

The median annual wage of agricultural and food scientists were $58,450 in May 2010. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,320, and the top 10 percent earned more than $105,040.

Median annual wages in Food Scientists and Technologists in (May 2010)
  • Scientific research and development services
    $69,470

  • Food manufacturing
    $55,690

  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools, state, local, and private
    $46,940
Median annual wages for Soil and Plant Scientists (May 2010)
  • Scientific research and development services
    $62,210

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
    $57,680

  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private
    $46,630
Median annual wages for soil and plant scientists (May 2010)
  • Scientific research and development services
    $62,210

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
    $57,680

  • Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private
    $46,630
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition

Industrial Overview of Agricultural and Food Scientists

Agricultural and food scientists held about 33,500 jobs in 2010. Most agricultural and food scientists work in research universities, private industry, or the federal government. Their work takes place in offices, laboratories, and in the field.

  • The largest numbers of animal scientists worked in Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private 46% (May 2010)

  • The largest numbers of food scientists and technologists worked in Food manufacturing 5% (May 2010)

  • The largest numbers of soil and plant scientists worked in Professional, scientific, and technical services- 23% (May 2010)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition
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