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Career Definition of an Agricultural Engineer
The primary responsibility of agricultural engineers is to make necessary improvements to the farming industry. They work to enhance production in farming by creating or improving machinery for crops and facilities for animals. Engineers make sure operations run smoothly by regularly checking equipment for issues, overseeing the proper storage of goods, improving the use of fertilizer and safely and effectively discarding unwanted animal substances.
Other duties might include developing and building farming equipment and designing systems that regulate the temperature in livestock facilities. Agricultural engineers also examine and work to resolve major environmental issues that could impact operations.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree in agricultural or biological engineering|
|Job Skills||Strong math, analytical, communication and problem-solving skills|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$74,780|
|Job Outlook (2016 - 2026)*||8%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
To secure a position as an agricultural engineer, it's good for a candidate to possess a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a field like biological engineering or agricultural engineering, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While state licensure is not necessary to become an agricultural engineer, securing a Professional Engineering (PE) license offers great opportunities for advancement in the field.
Engineers with education beyond the bachelor's degree often take part in research and development or become educators in colleges or universities. Recommended courses to take at the university level when preparing for a career in agricultural engineering include science and math courses like advanced calculus and chemistry as well as courses focused on economics or public policy.
Agricultural engineers spend a great deal of time working to pinpoint and solve challenges in the farming industry. Communication skills are important for effectively relaying information about the findings of investigations as well as interacting with employees and customers.
A good understanding of math is also needed, particularly when using software to design equipment. Engineers must have a strong understanding of all aspects of agriculture, be able to effectively analyze challenges and use problem-solving skills to provide impactful solutions.
Career Outlook and Salary
The BLS projects that between 2016 and 2026 career opportunities for agricultural engineers will increase by 8%, which is about as fast as average when compared to all occupations. However, due to agricultural engineering being such a specialized field, it will be a good idea for engineers to get training in additional specialties to remain competitive.
According to the BLS, in May 2017, agricultural engineers earned a median annual wage of $74,780. The highest paying industries for this position included engineering services and the federal government, which offered median annual wages of $87,760 and $84,190, respectively during the same year.
The following articles take a close look at careers similar to the agricultural engineering position. Learn about job duties, salaries, job growth and other aspects of these careers.