What Do Agricultural Engineers Do?
An agricultural engineer is responsible for utilizing engineering technology to solve problems in the world of agricultural advancement. These problems are vast and varied and can encompass anything from the quality of the soil and water and how best to conserve these resources as well as technical problems surrounding the equipment and structures used in cultivation.As the needs of the industry grow to reflect the changing times, it is predicted that the United States will see a slight increase in job opportunities for agricultural engineers. Nationally, there is a projected chance of 80 job openings in this field each year at a growth rate of more than 5 percent.
Agricultural Engineers Skills and Abilities
Successful agricultural engineers will have a profound understanding of engineering practices and how to apply them in a range of situations. It is also expected that those pursuing this position have a strong grasp on physics and mathematics and be able to utilize, repair and maintain the machines of the agricultural industry. Critical thinking skills are also a must for agricultural engineers, as well as an ability to recognize a problem in the earliest stages of a project.
Agricultural Engineers Duties
Those entering the field of agricultural engineering are expected to be able to handle a wide range of responsibilities. Engineers will be able to make intelligent decisions based on information that is available and use critical thinking skills to determine the best solution to any problem that presents itself. This position also requires a strong understanding of computers to write software and analyze data. Specific duties of agricultural engineers include:Design the components of agricultural machinery Supervise agricultural projects on land reclamationDesign storage facilities for animals, crops and other agricultural inventoryMeet with engineers on design strategyMeet with farmers on ways to increase agricultural productivityDesign equipment to collect data from plant and animal life
Agricultural Engineers Tools and Technology
An agricultural engineer must know how to use an array of CAD software to properly design and engineer agricultural machinery, structures and tools. Engineers will be able to use any operating system and make the appropriate platform changes when necessary. It is also highly recommended that those looking to enter this field have a basic understanding of Adobe Photoshop or similar graphic design software as well as map creation software like ArcView.
Education and Training for Agricultural Engineers
In order to successfully perform the many responsibilities of an agricultural engineer, a certain degree of education is expected. A Bachelor’s degree is the average level of education that most agricultural engineers have obtained, but higher degrees can prove beneficial when entering the industry. As the field becomes more competitive, a Master’s degree may be necessary to distinguish yourself from similar applicants. An Associate’s degree will not make you the most qualified for this job, but depending on age and experience, it might be possible. Nationally, 15 percent of individuals between the ages of 25 and 44 in this position have an Associate’s degree as their highest level of education.
Agricultural Engineers Salary
Due to the specific qualifications that are necessary for this position, agricultural engineers tend to have significantly larger salaries. The bottom 10 percent of agricultural engineers still make an annual salary of $45,900. Nationally, the average annual income of an agricultural engineer is $71,700, but those in the top percentile have been known to make upwards of $112,000.
Agricultural Engineers Jobs by Geography
Predictions for job growth rates have made Georgia, Nebraska, and Puerto Rico the best places to find a career as an agricultural engineer. Georgia, at the top of this list, is expected to have an increase of 24.4 percent in this field over the next decade. The highest average salaries for agricultural engineers in the United States belong to North Carolina, California and Ohio.