In order to become an agricultural inspector, you must have a firm background in a number of sciences, as well as the food production process. While you can learn some of this on the job, there are some things that you will be expected to know before you ever go for an interview in the agricultural inspection field. Therefore, you must take science courses, familiarize yourself with regulations related to food production and processing, and perhaps work in other positions before you will be able to become an agricultural inspector.
Science courses provide the basic skill sets needed to become an agricultural inspector. The subjects needed mostly relate to biological science and chemistry. The duties of an inspector often include running tests and perhaps examining tissue samples under a microscope. At the very least, science classes such as molecular biology and basic chemistry will help you understand how to use a microscope and how different chemicals may react to each other.
Many, but not all, positions will require a degree in a field related to agricultural inspection, such as food science or molecular biology. In most cases, a four-year bachelor's degree will satisfy the requirements, but if you are willing to get an advanced degree, such as a master's degree, you may have a better chance at landing a job against other candidates. Positions that require a college degree typically start out at a higher salary than those that do not.
Another thing to consider is that becoming an agricultural worker of some type before moving on to become an agricultural inspector. Even working on a food production line will give you invaluable experience as you work toward that ultimate goal. While you may not wish to continue such a career for a long period of time, some experience in the field may look attractive to potential employers, especially once you explain why you took that particular job.
The other thing to consider when looking to become an agricultural inspector is the possibility of internships. These provide hands-on experience in the field that many employers look upon favorably. In fact, many interns, be they in college or having already have graduated, are offered a full-time job at the end of that position. Such an offer may be conditional upon graduation from college, but at least those contacts are already made.
Once you get an interview, it is up to you to understand what you need to do to become an agricultural inspector. Make sure you stress your employment and experience, if any. Hiring managers may tend to overlook ones experience, or may not fully understand the full depth of that experiences. Therefore, it is up to you to sell yourself.