Dairy Products Manufacturing Workers


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Most dairy products workers learn their skills from company training sessions and on-the-job experience. Employers prefer to hire workers with at least a high school education. Courses that can provide helpful background for work in this field include mathematics, biology, and chemistry. Machine shop classes also can be useful for the experience gained in handling and repairing heavy machinery.

Postsecondary Training

Students interested in becoming cheesemakers may find it necessary to obtain a college degree in a food technology or food science program. Dairy herd supervisors, in addition to a two-year or four-year food technology or food science degree, should try to gain experience working on a dairy farm. Those who seek management positions may need a bachelor's degree in food manufacturing with an emphasis on accounting, management, and other business courses.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

To ensure that consumers receive safe, healthful dairy foods, many dairy products workers must be licensed by a state board of health or other local government unit. Licensing is intended to guarantee workers' knowledge of health laws, their skills in handling equipment, and their ability to grade the quality of various goods according to established standards. Some workers, such as cheese graders, may need to be licensed by the federal government as well.

Other Requirements

Many dairy products workers must pass physical examinations and receive certificates stating they are free from contagious diseases.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Workers receive on-the-job training in whatever area of dairy manufacturing that they decide to enter. This may include a learning the raw ingredients in making milk, cheese, or ice cream; understanding how to run machines and tools involved in the manufacturing processes; and learning awareness of safety procedures. Workers need to be detailed oriented and have a high degree of physical coordination and manual dexterity. Problem-solving skills are also important to recognize when a machine is not operating properly and know how to fix it. Workers also need to carefully monitor machine gauges and dials and must feel comfortable repeating repetitive procedures with precision control.