Monday, November 14, 2011

Ask Doc Rheo: Degrees of Food Rheology

Dear Doc Rheo:

What do you think of a degree in food rheology?
A student

Dear Student:

I’m the wrong guy to answer your question.

All my degrees are in Chemical Engineering, and my graduate work was in polymer rheology. While my current position involves food rheology, my employer wanted a chemistry or engineering major with experience in rheology.

When I was in school, I was often told that a Chemical Engineering degree was extremely flexible, as it could provide employment in many different industries. These comments were correct, as my former classmates and I work in a wide variety of fields. If you take a look at job report posts from this year and last year, you’ll see that generic rheological jobs ask for Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Polymer Science/Engineering, or Material Science backgrounds most often.

However, I have been contacted recently by headhunters who are trying to fill some food rheology jobs. I think that these folks have found me by entering “food” and “rheology” into the LinkedIn search function.

To get an answer to your question, you would be better off contacting food rheology professors. I have no experience with the requirements for a food science degree, so I’m not sure what generic benefits the degree confers.

Doc Rheo

1 comment:

  1. I would also recommend against such a specialized degree, although it's not like food as a product is going to disappear anytime soon. It's just that if you are working for the major food manufacturer in a town and get laid off [*] you will have a hard time getting a job with say an adhesive manufacturer doing rheology even if you would be doing the same thing.

    Life is full of people that will label you and put you in a box. Don't help them out by arriving pre-labeled.

    [*](I am horrible at predicting the future (I haven't won the lottery yet and my 401k is a mess) but rest assured you will get laid off)