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What You Need to Know to Become a Dairy Technologist

Dairy Technologist

We all love cheese, right? But do you know the process behind cheese making? Do you wonder how we get all dairy products? Are you interested in working in the food industry where you got to work around food processing, tasting dairy products, create new products? If you are interested in the dairy industry, then a dairy technologist is a career for you. As a dairy technologist, you will monitor the manufacturing of dairy products in dairy farms. Dairy products include milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, butter, ghee, chachh, etc. You will ensure that the quality of milk is good for health. You will maintain the hygiene at the processing plant, you will manage quality control, etc. As a dairy technologist, you will conduct different experiments to improve the overall quality of dairy products.

Why become a Dairy Technologist?

Dairy Technologist is a food technologist who specialises in Dairy products. You know Amul. You also know that each year Amul comes with new products, and new flavors and sometimes removes old products from its plants. As a dairy technologist, you will be responsible for the production of dairy products, at two levels:

  • Development of new products: You will work within the legal framework to produce new types, and flavors of dairy products that are safe for human consumption. You will seek approval from the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India for products in India and similar authorities in concerned nations of exports.
  • Regular production of existing products: You will work to ensure that the daily production of products is done under prescribed legal and hygiene conditions. You will be responsible for the nutrition values in the product, the quality, chemical /natural flavors added, the weight of packaged products, etc.
  • From the approval of a new product until its regular production, you will keep track of the whole process. If there are complaints with the quality, you will do the quality check of the product, process, equipment, etc. You will also train people in the manufacturing department, the quality check department, etc.

Below are some of the specializations you may choose from –

  1. Dairy Chemists: They work on the chemical composition of dairy products. They work to monitor the quality of products based on the chemical composition of fat content, protein content, lactose content, total solids, pH level, alcohol test, sucrose content, etc. They also work to find adulteration by water.
  2. Dairy Engineers: They use technology to improve total dairy production. They work on building equipment and machinery with better efficiency.
  3. Dairy Microbiologists: Dairy Microbiologists work to keep a check on the microorganisms’ growth in dairy products. They work to control bacterial, fungal, and other microorganisms’ growth.
  4. Dairy Economists: Dairy Economists work to understand the financial and commercial aspects of the dairy business.
  5. Dairy Business Managers: Dairy Business Managers work to manage the overall facilities of dairy. They see the management side of the dairy including using a computer and mathematical tools to solve managerial problems.

What does a dairy technologist do?

As a dairy technologist, there will have several responsibilities under you including the following:

  1. You will check raw ingredients (especially milk) for maturity or stability for processing.
  2. You will also do a quality, safety and nutritional value check on the final products.
  3. You will inspect food processing areas and ensure that the plant is complying with all government regulations, safety and sanity standards are maintained, and there is proper waste management.
  4. You will evaluate food processing storage operations. You will also develop or assist in developing quality assurance programs.
  5. You will work on new methods that can help you improve the chemical composition of food, flavour, colour, texture, nutritional value, etc.
  6. You will stay up to date with new regulations, norms, laws related to food science in India and abroad where your products are exported.
  7. You will conduct research and experiments to improve the lives of Dairy animals, and their productivity also increases.
  8. You will work to create new food products. You will also work to create new ways to develop existing products including process, packaging and delivery system.
  9. You will keep yourself updated with new scientific development happening across the world in the dairy field.
  10. You will communicate your new scientific research to the fellow community, food producers, government and public.
  11. Regularly travel to the facilities to oversee the implementation of new projects.
  12. You will do basic research seeks to understand the biological and chemical processes by which dairy products can be produced.
  13. You will work with little supervision, forming your hypotheses and developing your research methods. Also, you will often lead teams of technicians or students who help in your research.

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How to become a dairy technologist – Eligibility criteria

Becoming a dairy technologist typically requires a combination of education and experience. Here are the typical educational requirements:

Undergraduate studies after school:

  • To become a Dairy Technologist, you should complete your schooling with Physics, and Mathematics and join for an undergraduate course of B.Tech. in Dairy Technology. Chemistry

Post Graduate studies:

  • After finishing B.Tech., you can take an M.Tech. in Dairy Technology course in India or Foreign University. There are specialisations in M.E. and M.Tech, such as Dairy Chemistry, Dairy Technology, Dairy Engineering, Dairy Microbiology and Dairying. many
  • You can go for further studies by choosing to complete a Ph.D. in Dairy Technology.

Educational Fees

The educational fees for becoming a dairy technologist can vary depending on the country and institution you choose to attend. However, here are some general estimates:

  • Diploma/Certificate programs: The fees for a diploma or certificate program in dairy technology can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the duration of the program and the institution you choose.
  • Bachelor’s degree: The fees for a bachelor’s degree in dairy technology can range from $10,000 to $30,000 per year, depending on the country and institution you choose.
  • Master’s degree: The fees for a master’s degree in dairy technology can range from $15,000 to $50,000 per year, depending on the country and institution you choose.

Job Opportunities

  • Dairy farms are the biggest recruiters of Dairy Technologist. At the entry level, you may join a dairy at the role of Dairy Plant Supervisor or as a Graduate Engineer Trainee.
  • After you finish the Master’s degree, you can even join universities and colleges at the entry level position of Junior Professor or Assistant Professor.
  • After Master’s degree, research laboratories and research farms will hire you as a research associate officer with the lowest grade.
  • If you start your career with an FMCG or food industries, then they will hire you are a Trainee Microbiologist or Trainee Food Technologist.

You can find job opportunities at the following facilities:

  • Dairy farms
  • Dairy cooperatives like Amul, Mother Dairy, Saras, etc.
  • Ice cream companies like Vadilal, Kwality Wall’s, Havmor, etc.
  • Research and development agencies.
  • Agriculture and Dairy Colleges and Universities.
  • Quality control department of each State Government.
  • Milk Product Manufacturing companies.
  • FMCG and food production companies.
  • Dairy Equipment Manufacturing companies

Salary of dairy technologist

At the entry level, you can join as a dairy plant supervisor or graduate engineer trainee and earn around 20,000 INR to 30,000 INR per month. If you join as an assistant professor, then you might earn anything between 60,000 to 70,000 INR per month. In private industries, you would be earning anything between 20,000 – 30,000 INR per month.

At the junior level with a work experience of 2-5 years, you would be earning anything between 25,000 INR to 1,00,000 INR per month.

At the middle level with an experience of 5-10 years, you would be earning anything between 40,000 INR to 1,50,000 INR per month.

At the senior level of over ten years of work experience, you would be earning anything between 50,000 INR to 2,00,000 INR or more per month.

Career progression in dairy technologist

The career growth in university and college states from Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor, Professor and Professor Emeritus. Professors can also get administrative positions such as Director/Dean/Vice Chancellor, etc.

If you join a dairy plant, then you join as a dairy plant supervisor, later become assistant manager or Dairy plant manager. With a few years of work experience, you become a purchasing officer and then Logistics Manager and finally Quality control officer.

If you join the food industry, FMCG, etc., then you will start your career as a Trainee Microbiologist or Trainee Food Technologist. With experience, you will become Quality Assurance Executive, Assistant Manager, Senior Manager, Deputy Manager (Quality) and Production Manager.  

If you are hired as a research associate (JRF and SRF), then you will go on to become a Doctoral Research Fellow, then Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, and then Scientist in Progressive Grades. 

India is the largest producer and consumer of dairy products. In 2016, according to BusinessWire, the Indian dairy industry was worth 5,000 billion INR. Presently the organized sector constitutes only 20% of this market, 46 percent is still unorganized, and 34% is consumed locally. These data show that there is immense potential for the organized dairy industry in India. If the market doesn’t grow, the organized sector can still increase by four times. This potential means there is a high prospect for a career in this field. Ice cream market is growing at a rate of 15-20% per year, and the cheese industry is growing at a rate of over 31% per year.

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