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Food Processing Major

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Food Processing

112 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
0 Master's Degrees Annually
#275 in Popularity
$50,790 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Food Processing Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many food processing graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 112
Associate’s Degree 56
Basic Certificate 47
Undergraduate Certificate 29

What Food Processing Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to food processing and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Food Processing Majors

Food Processing majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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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

food processing majors are found most commonly in careers in which the following skills are important:

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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 you progress with your food processing degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with food processing:

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

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Processing?

112 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
54% Percent Women
20% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This is a less frequently chosen undergraduate major. Only 112 students graduated with a bachelor’s degree in food processing in 2019, making it rank #275 in popularity. According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 54% of the graduates are women, and 46% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of food processing majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Food Processing Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 3
Black or African American 4
Hispanic or Latino 14
White 82
International Students 7
Other Races/Ethnicities 2

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Food Processing. About 6.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • Serbia
  • Japan
  • Malaysia

How Much Do Food Processing Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in food processing was $54,250 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $49,175 (25th percentile) and $59,325 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in food processing, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $45,970 to $90,890 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to food processing. 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 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
0K
250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
0K
250K

Some careers associated with food processing require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to food processing have obtained the following education levels.

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

Major Number of Grads
Agricultural Economics & Business 8,910
Animal Science 7,814
Horticulture 4,451
General Agriculture 3,551
Agricultural Production 3,536
Plant Sciences 3,278
Food Science Technology 2,222
Agricultural Mechanization 1,537
Animal Services 1,070
Agricultural Public Services 774
Other Agriculture 551
Soil Sciences 434
International Agriculture 141

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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