Earning a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering is a good first step in becoming an agricultural equipment test engineer. Gaining work experience while in school or afterwards is a great way to build up a reputation in the field, and obtaining a Professional Engineer license, which is often necessary for engineers working for the public, can boost employability.
An agricultural equipment test engineer creates and tests products to be used in agricultural settings. In general, people in this field need a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering or another engineering discipline. Agricultural engineers who offer services to the general public will need to have a professional engineer license.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree|
|Other Requirements||Professional engineer license needed for some positions, experience in field|
|Projected Job Growth*||4% between 2014 and 2024 (agricultural engineers)|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$78,490 (agricultural engineers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Step 1: Complete an Agricultural Engineering Bachelor's Degree Program
Students who want to become agricultural engineers - that specialize in equipment testing - will take their first step by earning a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering. In the United States, engineering programs are generally accredited by ABET, formerly the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. This accreditation is designed to recognize and maintain professional standards in engineering. Like many engineering programs, students will learn mathematics, materials properties and physics. In agricultural engineering programs, students will also study soil chemistry and earth science.
Step 2: Gain Experience in the Agricultural Engineering Industry
Either while in the engineering program or immediately afterwards, students will need to develop work experience in the agricultural engineering field. While in an engineering program, students may seek out opportunities for internships. These internships will be important in developing job skills and gaining hands-on experience necessary for potential employers.
Step 3: Earn a Credential as a Professional Engineer
In developing a professional reputation in agricultural engineering, some will seek out recognition as a Professional Engineer (PE). This license is necessary in some jurisdictions for any engineer looking to offer services directly to the public. It can also be a part of professional development in the engineering field. Earning this credential requires completing an ABET-certified engineering program, completing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, developing oneself through years of supervised work experience and finally completing the exam that leads to the Professional Engineering credential.
Step 4: Find Work as an Agricultural Equipment Test Engineer
Companies that design products for use in the agricultural industry must - similarly to other industries - test their equipment to make certain that it is of sound design. However, companies that design agricultural equipment are not the only companies that employ agricultural equipment test engineers. Other agribusiness companies may have specific needs that must be met as part of their work, especially in the testing of other farm products.
Agricultural engineering occupations should see a four percent growth rate for the years between 2014 and 2024, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An anticipated increase in the design of new equipment in this field is expected to help fuel this growth. Those involved in agricultural machine manufacturing earned an average annual salary of $71,760 as of May 2015, the BLS says (www.bls.gov), while agricultural engineers earned an average salary of $78,490 overall.
Students who want to become an agricultural engineer must complete an ABET-accredited engineering program. The industry-specific topics they often study can include earth science and soil chemistry. Work experience and passing an exam will enable them to earn the Professional Engineer credential.