Food Dryers

Food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders operate equipment that lowers the moisture content of food and tobacco in preparation for packaging. They also process canned foods. They work in spaces specially designed for food processing and preservation, and normally work standard 40-hour weeks.

Job Skills

Certain basic skills are required of food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders. They need to possess good coordination and depth perception, adequate physical strength, and the ability to distinguish between colors. Depending on the State in which they work, a health certificate may be required as well.

Income

In 2002, food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders earned a median annual salary of $23,260.

Training and Education

Minimal to no training is required to obtain a job as a food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operator and tender. Most employees are trained on the job. Depending on the employer, this training can be formal or informal and last from one month to a year, depending on the difficulty of the tasks. Training consists of observing other experienced workers operating various types of equipment. In order to advance to supervisory or management positions, a degree specific to the particular industry is usually required.

Employment

Out of the nearly 757,000 food processing jobs in 2002, about 19,000 people were employed as food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders.

Job Outlook

Between 2002 and 2012, the number of food and tobacco roasting, baking, and drying machine operators and tenders is expected to grow more slowly than the average. Advances in automated cooking technology mean more of this type of work is being completed at the manufacturing level rather than the retail level.

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