There are several different ways to become a food safety specialist, though all of them typically involve some education and may require experience working with food and food safety. You will likely need to have a college degree, though with enough experience working in the food industry you may only need a two-year degree. Your education should focus on a scientific field, such as microbiology, biology, or chemistry, though you may want to focus on environmental health as well. Once you complete your education, you can become a food safety specialist by receiving further certification if you wish and finding work for a government agency or private company.
Most paths to become a food safety specialist will require education beyond high school; you may consider a four-year or post-graduate degree. You should usually pursue a degree in a scientific field related to food safety, such as biology or microbiology. This type of focus will give you a deep understanding of how unsafe conditions for food can develop, as well as knowledge of how plants grow and develop in safe and unsafe conditions. You may also want to find ways to get related professional experience while working on your education, which can help you become a food safety specialist.
There are a number of schools that can help you become a food safety specialist by offering programs in environmental health. Many of these schools are accredited to offer these types of programs and can be just as advantageous as programs in biology for helping you pursue your goals within food safety. You may also want to consider private accreditation or certification from food safety or health agencies. While this type of certification may not be necessary for you to become a food safety specialist, it can sometimes be helpful, especially when you are trying to find your first job.
Once you have completed your education, then you can become a food safety specialist by finding work in the industry. Work in food safety is typically found either with a government agency that handles food inspections to ensure compliance with government regulations, or found at private companies that hire food inspectors to ensure standards are met for government policies. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) typically handles these types of inspections, while in England these regulations are established and enforced by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). You could look for opportunities to become a food safety specialist in one of these agencies or with a private company such as a meat packing plant or wholesale food distributor.