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Start With An Environmental Degree And Go Into Food, Soil Or Animal Science

Article by Natasha Bright

Food science is such a wide field to study; it has split into many subcategories. While at their core they have a number of things in common, when one gets to post-graduate work, one is forced to pick one particular arena over the other. The three main specializations are Soil, Plant and Animal Scientists.

All three disciplines have one goal in common; to improve the knowledge of food production. They usually work for food corporations, institutes of higher learning or some form of government. Some food scientists engage in basic research, discovering new food sources. Others analyze food to determine the nutritional levels and to determine harmful or undesirable additives. They also develop ways to process, package and store food according to industry and government regulations. Some even do research into cooking and preparation. Many also work hand in hand with environmental scientists these days.

As one can imagine, a soil scientist works – pardon the pun – from the ground up. They examine the earth too, for everything from how to help clean up Brownfield and Superfund sites to utilizing crop rotation to obtain maximum vegetation yield. This means they don’t only have to study their share of biology, ecology and chemistry, but have a keen understanding of topological subjects such as geography.

As soil scientists concentrate on the earth, plant scientists concentrate on vegetation. Also called agronomists or crop scientists, these specialists concentrate on such things as increasing crop yield, improving the nutritional value of various plants, plant diseases and similarly related matters. These days they are actually going old school, re-examining the works of Darwin and Mendel regarding the work of those pioneers on plant genetics. They are also quite cutting edge, examining how biotechnology can improve plants.

Based on soil and plant scientists, it shouldn’t take much to figure out what animal scientists concentrate on. They concentrate on improving the quality and yield of livestock, particularly when it comes to meat, milk and eggs. While not veterinarians, they also do research in animal diseases and finding their cures. Many livestock inspectors also happen to have degrees as animal scientists.

Like Agricultural and Food Scientists, anyone interested in entering these fields should start with an on campus or online university that offers a solid four year program in the environmental, life, or biological sciences. One might also check with a college career counselor about the university’s post-grad program. Post-grad is where one specializes in one of these three disciplines, and if one can streamline a six year curriculum, that’s better.

Salaries depend in one’s area of specialization. It also depends on if one works in the corporate or public sector. For example, plant scientists working for a federal agency average ,000 a year. Animal scientists, by comparison, make a little under 5,000. In the corporate world, animal scientists average over ,000, while both plant and soil scientists average over ,000.Interestingly, salaries are dependent on a number of factors. Animal scientists tend to earn more (up to 5,000 to ,000) when they work for the government. Plant and soil scientists tend to do better in private industry (,000 to ,000). All do come with excellent benefits.

About the Author

An environmental degree is one way to go when when beginning your online degree, specializing as the right field becomes apparent. Entering into the environmental field via a distance learning college degree works on every level.

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