Agricultural engineers are engineering professionals who develop and design new procedures, tools and systems for agricultural products and environments. Also, engineers in this field may work to solve environmental issues pertaining to agriculture or they may specialize in bioprocess technology. They often must travel to worksites to observe whether processes or equipment are working correctly.
These professionals work both indoors and out. Their work can depend on the weather or growing seasons, so sometimes agricultural engineers must work long hours to take advantage of the right conditions.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field(s)||Agricultural or biological engineering|
|Licensure and/or Certification||A license as a professional engineer (P.E.) is required in order to offer services to the public|
|Experience||Some years of practical experience; licensure typically requires at least four years|
|Key Skills||Critical thinking, listening, mathematics, problem solving, proficiency with specialized tools and technology|
|Salary||$71, 730 (2014 BLS Median for Agricultural Engineers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine
Step 1: Pursue a Bachelor's Degree
Employers often require agricultural engineers to have a bachelor's degree from an engineering program that has been accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). An undergraduate program in agricultural engineering typically has coursework in calculus, physics with calculus applications and biology. Agriculture-specific courses may include soil mechanics, environmental microclimatology, ocean and atmospheric dynamics, hydrology, geology and soil physics.
The curriculum for a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering will generally have a focus on the technology used in agricultural processes. Several topics covered in programs like these include power and machinery systems, storage, ventilation, and cooling systems, product processing, spraying techniques, irrigation and drainage management and agribusiness. In addition to studying these topics, students may also be expected to complete a capstone project their senior year, where they work on practical design projects with faculty or cooperating industry members.