How to Become an Agricultural Engineer

How to Become an Agricultural Engineer

How to Become an Agricultural Engineer
Shanti RanaWed Aug 31 2022

Improving crop planting, harvesting, and storage practices is crucial for global food availability and distribution. Agricultural engineers create the tools and technologies that farmers use to increase the efficiency of producing food. They also research new farming practices and raise awareness about environmentally friendly farming methods. 

In this article, we define what an agricultural engineer is and its roles, list some skills essential for the job, answer several frequently asked questions regarding the profession and detail the steps one must follow to become one.

What is an Agricultural Engineer?

Agricultural engineers are professionals who specialize in agricultural systems, equipment, and facilities. They utilize their expertise in biology and various engineering disciplines, primarily chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering, to design and develop agricultural machinery. 

Their major duty is to improve agricultural systems, recommend new machinery, and plan agricultural projects to ensure that agricultural operations are carried out as efficiently as possible.

Agricultural engineers are responsible for improving farming conditions and making the environment safe for all farming areas. They try to solve issues in agriculture concerning machinery efficiency, power supplies, use of facilities and structures, storage and processing of agricultural products, and pollution and environmental issues. 

The advancement of techniques and technology brought about by these professionals is critical in assisting farmers in better use of their land and resources.

What are the roles and responsibilities of an Agricultural Engineer?

  • Utilizing knowledge of engineering and technology to create agricultural tools, machinery, equipment, and structures 
  • Conducting detailed tests for safety issues and flaws before sending to the market 
  • Evaluating the design's efficacy and incorporating any necessary improvements
  • Estimating the cost, dependability, and safety of agricultural machinery 
  • Maintaining efficiency and managing the process 
  • Developing power tools and machineries for tilling, fertilization, and harvesting
  • Designing and constructing drainage, flood control, water management, and irrigation systems 
  • Designing pesticide control products and technologies that safeguard farm produce
  • Ensuring that the designs of farming equipment adhere to agricultural codes 
  • Developing various strategies needed to conserve water and soil
  • Developing strategies to enhance the handling and storage of agricultural produces 
  • Modify environmental variables that affect animal or crop output, such as barn airflow or field runoff patterns
  • Presenting reports and offering stakeholders and leadership members with regular updates on farming practices

Qualifications to be an Agricultural Engineer 

Problem-solving skills

Agricultural engineers frequently use problem-solving skills in their profession. They look into ways to create or enhance agricultural machinery, procedures, or infrastructure to make them more effective. Before choosing the best course of action, they thoroughly analyze problems and weigh all potential solutions.

Communication skills

Many agricultural engineers interact with other specialists, such as horticulturists or agronomists, to find solutions to challenges in agriculture. They must communicate clearly and concisely to explain their findings and provide recommendations to others. They may also use their written communication skills when providing technical reports or project updates for coworkers, managers, or stakeholders.

Critical thinking

Engineers in this industry need to be able to connect ideas through analytical reasoning. Agricultural engineers can conclude a variety of topics by applying logic and reasoning. They employ critical thinking abilities to analyze data and translate essential information to aid in decision-making.

Organization skills

Agricultural engineers may be in charge of some ongoing activities and projects, so they must have strong planning and organizational skills. They prioritize their tasks by using time management skills. This ensures that they are performing jobs on schedule and meeting deadlines.

Leadership skills

Senior agricultural engineers employ managerial and leadership abilities, particularly in charge of teams. These skills include project management and training.

Steps to Become a Successful Agricultural Engineer

  • Excel in physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics in high school 
  • Pursue a bachelor’s degree program in agricultural engineering or biological engineering
  • Get initial experience in the field through entry-level jobs or internship programs 
  • Get licensed as a Professional Engineer
  • Continue your professional development to stay informed about new trends and academic discoveries in the sector.
  • Pursue master’s degree in the related field
  • If you are interested in research works, you may pursue doctorate degree in the field

Degree Programs for Agricultural Engineer

Bachelor’s Degree Programs

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering

Bachelor of Technology in Agricultural Engineering

Bachelor of Technology in Agricultural Engineering (Hons)

Bachelor of Agro-industrial Engineering

Bachelor degree in Agricultural and Food Industries Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Agronomic Engineering

Master’s Degree Programs

Master of Science in Farm Power and Machinery Engineering

Master of Science in Soil and Water Engineering

Master of Science in Processing or Post Harvest Systems Engineering

Master of Science in Farm Structures and Environmental Control Engineering

Master of Science in Forestry and Wood Product Engineering 

Master of Science in Food Engineering

Master of Technology in agriculture

MBA in Agricultural Engineering

Salary of an Agricultural Engineer

The salary of agricultural engineers varies based on their level of education, work history, and competence for the job.

Country

Average annual salary of an Agricultural Engineer

USA

$70199

United Kingdom

£26,265

Australia 

AU$67500

Canada 

C$60000

India 

₹490819

China 

CNY 275,982

Russia

RUB 1,281,698

France

€58,689

Germany

€60,391

Advantages and Disadvantages of Becoming Agricultural Engineer

Advantages:

  • Agriculture engineers are in high demand. 
  • Agriculture engineers earn high salaries. 
  • Suitable for those who enjoy working with minds 
  • Job security and a good working environment 
  • Suitable for people who love working indoor

Disadvantages:

  • For this occupation, you'll need a considerable amount of work-related knowledge, skill, or experience 
  • Entry into this profession is difficult
  • Long hours at work 
  • Future employment growth potential
  • Agricultural engineers are undervalued by many farmers

Career as an Agricultural Engineer

Graduates of the program find employment in a variety of sectors, including educational institutions, agrochemical companies, government agencies, forestry-based companies, and equipment manufacturers. Depending on their experience level, they might transition into project management, specialized technical research, and development, technical sales, business development, teaching, or consulting.

Specializations:

  • Farm Power and Machinery Engineering
  • Soil and Water Engineering
  • Processing or Post Harvest Systems Engineering
  • Farm Structures and Environmental Control Engineering
  • Forestry and Wood Product Engineering 
  • Food Engineering

Job Titles:

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Agricultural Inspector
  • Agricultural Specialist
  • Agronomists
  • Farm shop Manager
  • Food and Beverage Supervisor
  • Survey Research Agricultural Engineer
  • Agricultural and food science technician
  • Agricultural technician
  • Arborist
  • Conservation scientist
  • Horticulturist technician

FAQ Related to ‘How to Become an Agricultural Engineer?

How would you describe the agricultural engineer's workplace?

Although they frequently work in offices, agricultural engineers may also spend time in many indoor and outdoor work areas. They might visit agricultural locations to check that machinery and equipment are operating under the manufacturer's specifications and local and national laws. Some agricultural engineers occasionally operate in laboratories to evaluate the quality of processing equipment.

What is the typical work schedule for an agricultural engineer?

The timetable of agricultural engineers may vary based on the weather or season, such as the timing of harvest or sowing.  In an emergency, agricultural engineers may be called on short notice; however, this depends on their position.

What is the future of the agricultural engineering field?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be slower growth in employment for agricultural engineers through 2029 than for other occupations. Agricultural engineering is a niche industry, but demand may rise as farmers attempt to enhance food output and reduce their environmental impact.

What kind of training is necessary to become an agricultural engineer?

For entry-level work as an agricultural engineer, you must have a bachelor's degree, preferably in agricultural or biological engineering. Consider getting a graduate degree if you want to specialize in academics or research, advance to senior positions, or both.

What are the possible career paths for an agricultural engineer?

Agricultural engineers can rise to management or senior positions where they have additional responsibility and may be in charge of managing or training other agricultural engineers. After earning a graduate degree, some agricultural engineers may move into sales roles for companies that sell agricultural equipment, while others may enter the fields of research or academics.

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