Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in agricultural mechanics can learn about the fundamentals of the field by pursuing a certificate or associate's degree in agricultural mechanics. In an agricultural mechanics program, students learn to operate, repair and maintain farm equipment, such as tillers, tractors and harvesting machines through a combination of classes and hands-on experiences. Courses cover topics including hydraulic transmissions, engines and electrical systems. Students also learn about the use of computers in farming. Most programs require an internship.
Prerequisites for certificate or associate's degree programs include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Associate's degree programs may also require some mechanical experience. Some schools require students to buy their own set of tools before they can begin practical core courses.
Agricultural Mechanics Certificate
All of the courses offered within an agricultural mechanics certificate program are career-centric and prepare students for entry-level positions troubleshooting and repairing farm equipment. Some examples of course topics include:
- Field machinery operations
- Brake systems
- Hydraulic systems
- Engine repair
- Fuel systems
- Garden equipment repair
Associate of Science in Agricultural Mechanics Technology
Associate's degree programs in agricultural mechanics offer the same core vocational courses as certificate programs in the field, but also include general education classes and electives. They are designed for those students who aspire to have a well-rounded education before pursuing a career as a farm equipment mechanic. These programs take two years to complete and allow students to spend more time diagnosing and repairing agricultural equipment.
Associate's degree programs in agricultural mechanics offer hands-on courses that focus on diagnostic procedures for diesel engines, hydraulic systems, electrical systems and other large equipment systems. Possible course topics include:
- Farm machinery fundamentals
- Diesel systems and electronics
- Engine repair
- Hydraulic transmissions
- Electrical systems
- Advanced field machinery operations
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Farm equipment mechanics and service technicians accounted for 37,080 jobs in 2015, and employment in the industry was projected to grow by 7% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The outlook should remain stable as agricultural food products will stay in high demand to feed a still-growing population. In addition, growing industries, such as biofuels, will ensure a need for skilled agricultural mechanics. As of May 2015, the median annual salary for the profession was $37,050 (www.bls.gov).
Popular Career Options
An associate's degree in agricultural mechanics can prepare graduates for a variety of positions related to farm equipment repair, service and sales. Some specific titles are:
- Farm equipment mechanic
- Machinery technician
- Farm equipment parts specialist
- Agricultural equipment sales manager
- Service manager
Farm equipment service technicians may be able to work their way into supervisory roles. Advanced positions in the field might involve overseeing a crew of technicians or commissioning work from prospective clients. A bachelor's degree in agricultural technology management may help prepare students to move into roles as supervisors within large equipment wholesalers or repair companies.
Aspiring agricultural mechanics can enroll in certificate or associate's degree programs to learn how to work on the systems and components found in large farm equipment. For individuals interested in supervisory positions within the industry, bachelor's degrees in agricultural technology management are available.