Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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  Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Occupation Details

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Food Scientist

Job Zone

Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€28k > 55 
Food Scientist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€28 - 55 
Related Information:
Food Microbiologist: 28 - 55
Food Chemist: 28 - 45
Data Source(s):
Morgan McKinley

Last Updated: July, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Shortage Indicator

Occupational Category

Chemical, Biological & Physical Scientists

Also included in this category:

Analytical chemists; industrial chemists; biomedical scientists; forensic scientists; microbiologists; geologists; medical physicists; meteorologists

Number Employed:


Part time workers: 3%
Aged over 55: 8%
Male / Female: 45 / 55%
Non-Nationals: 12%
With Third Level: 95%
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At a Glance... header image

Analyse the properties of food and the effects of processing, freezing and storing food.

The Work header image

The terms 'Food Scientist' and 'Food Technologist' are often interchanged.  
The Scientist is concerned with the fundamental nature of things, including the biological materials that constitute foods. The Technologist puts knowledge to work in a practical way to produce food, using engineering and biology and other sciences.  
Foodstuffs are mostly very complex and subject to changes, so the Technologist must work very closely with the Scientist. Scientists study the composition of food, its physical, chemical and biological nature, and the changes it undergoes under various conditions. They work to turn raw materials into appealing food products, efficiently and safely. Scientists may develop new sources of foods and improve existing foods by increasing their nutritional value and storage life, by enhancing their flavour, appearance, and eating quality.  
The Technologist may be involved in research but is more usually employed in the factory in production, development, management and quality control, and ensuring that both science and technology are applied in the best way.  
Food Technicians are also required in the running of a modern food factory. They assist the Technologist or Scientist, with a wide range of special techniques in analysis and process control. For example, some foods must be analysed to ensure that their composition is within the legal limits set for the market, where they will be sold.  
Quality control is necessary in all food production to provide the consumer with what he/she wants.  
Many food scientists and technologists have to consider the environmental impact of their work. They may research new ways to package food, to reduce waste and use materials that can be recycled.  
Food scientists and technologists may work in the area of public health and food Inspection, working in a local authority environmental health department.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation


Check raw ingredients for maturity or stability for processing and finished products for safety, quality, and nutritional value.


Inspect food processing areas to ensure compliance with government regulations and standards for sanitation, safety, quality, and waste management standards.


Evaluate food processing and storage operations and assist in the development of quality assurance programs for such operations.


Study methods to improve aspects of foods, such as chemical composition, flavor, color, texture, nutritional value, and convenience.


Stay up-to-date on new regulations and current events regarding food science by reviewing scientific literature.


Test new products for flavor, texture, color, nutritional content, and adherence to government and industry standards.


Develop food standards and production specifications, safety and sanitary regulations, and waste management and water supply specifications.


Develop new or improved ways of preserving, processing, packaging, storing, and delivering foods, using knowledge of chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences.


Confer with process engineers, plant operators, flavor experts, and packaging and marketing specialists to resolve problems in product development.


Study the structure and composition of food or the changes foods undergo in storage and processing.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.


Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.


Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.


Thinking Creatively:  Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.


Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others:  Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.


Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.


Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.


Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.


Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.


Production and Processing:  Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.


Chemistry:  Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.


Food Production:  Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.


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.

Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.


Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.


Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.


Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.


Monitoring:   Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.


Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.


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.


Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.


Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.


Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.


Time Management:   Managing one's own time and the time of others.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

You must be able to solve problems, work in teams and communicate clearly to non-technical colleagues. You will need self-motivation to take responsibility for a food product.  
A willingness to learn and develop your knowledge is also important as the technology and industry is constantly changing and improving and you will need to keep up-to-date with latest developments.  
The food industry is heavily regulated and you would need to be aware of relevant legislation.

Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Food Chemistry (Part 1) - from:  Discover Science & Engineering
Go..Food Chemistry (Part 2) - from:  Discover Science & Engineering
Go..Food Chemistry (Part 3) - from:  Discover Science & Engineering
Go..Food Scientist - from:  YouTube Video
Go..Food Scientist-Food Technologist - from:  N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image


Organisation: Teagasc - Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
  Address: Head Office, Oak Park, Carlow
  Tel: (059) 917 0200
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...

...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry & Food
Chemical, Biomedical & Pharmaceutical Sciences
Maritime, Fishing & Aquaculture

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