How to become a Food Technician

Food technicians check production processes and product quality, and undertake maintenance and basic repair of equipment. They also assist food technologists with developing food products and establishing standards for production and packaging.

Personal requirements for a Food Technician

  • Aptitude for mathematics and science
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Enjoy scientific activities
  • Good observation skills
  • Show initiative
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Good organisation skills
  • Strong attention to detail

Education & Training for a Food Technician

To become a food technician you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in food technology or food science and nutrition. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, biology, chemistry and mathematics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Duties & Tasks of a Food Technician

Food technicians:

  • Monitor food production processes
  • Carry out routine testing of food ingredients, packaging and food products to ensure that safety, quality, health and legal standards are met
  • Perform physical, chemical and microbiological tests, and report on content, nutritional value, flavour, aroma and appearance
  • Collect information from surveys and observations
  • Record test results and prepare graphs and reports
  • Assist food technologists with research and development, production technology and quality control
  • Mix, blend or cultivate ingredients to make reagents (agents to be used in chemical testing) or to manufacture food or beverage products
  • Develop, operate, maintain and repair equipment for use in food production, research and testing
  • Inspect, analyse and recommend ways of improving quality and efficiency of production
  • Check handling, processing and storage of raw materials
  • Check and maintain cleanliness and sanitation of laboratory equipment
  • Measure, test or weigh bottles, cans or other containers to ensure they meet specifications.

Tasks

  • Collecting and collating data for research.
  • Assisting in developing new methods of planting, fertilising, harvesting and processing crops to achieve optimum land usage.
  • Planning slaughtering, harvesting and other aspects of production processes.
  • Examining topographical, physical and soil characteristics of farmland to determine its most effective use and identify nutrient deficiencies.
  • Identifying pathogenic micro-organisms and insects, parasites, fungi and weeds harmful to crops and livestock, and assisting in devising methods of control.
  • Assisting in controlled breeding experiments to develop improved crop and livestock strains.
  • May advise producers on farming techniques and management.
  • Arranging the supply of drugs, vaccines and other chemicals to Farmers and Farm Managers, and giving advice on their use.
  • Analysing produce to set and maintain standards of quality.
  • Inspecting livestock to gauge the effectiveness of feed formulae.

Employment Opportunities for a Food Technician

Initially, food technicians may perform routine quality assurance tasks such as laboratory testing. With experience, and sometimes further training, it is possible to advance to supervisory or senior technical positions such as quality control leader, quality compliance coordinator, quality assurance inspector, laboratory technician or quality improvement leader. Job prospects are dependent on food production and access to export markets.


Specializations

Food Technician

Food technicians check production processes and product quality, and undertake maintenance and basic repair of equipment. They also assist food technologists with developing food products and establishing standards for production and packaging.

  • Average age
    Average age
    40 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Stable
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    37% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,441
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    80% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 2.3%
    NSW: 23.9%
    NT: 1.3%
    QLD: 18.7%
    SA: 10.6%
    TAS: 6.8%
    VIC: 22.9%
    WA: 13.5%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 2.2%
    20-24: 9.8%
    25-34: 26.4%
    35-44: 20.2%
    45-54: 20.7%
    55-59: 11%
    60-64: 6.3%
    65 and Over: 3.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 16%
    Bachelor degree: 28.6%
    Certificate III/IV: 19.9%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 9.2%
    Year 10 and below: 9.3%
    Year 11: 3.2%
    Year 12: 13.8%
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