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Career profile Agricultural Engineer

Also known as Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Systems Specialist, Conservation Engineer, Engineer, Product Engineer, Product Technology Scientist, Project Engineer, Research Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural Engineer

Also known as Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Systems Specialist, Conservation Engineer

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$51,160 - $166,620 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Complex Problem Solving
Knowledge Areas
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Prepare reports, sketches, working drawings, specifications, proposals, and budgets for proposed sites or systems.
  • Discuss plans with clients, contractors, consultants, and other engineers so that they can be evaluated and necessary changes made.
  • Provide advice on water quality and issues related to pollution management, river control, and ground and surface water resources.
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What does an Agricultural Engineer do?

Agricultural Engineers apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.

What kind of tasks does an Agricultural Engineer perform regularly?

Agricultural Engineers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Prepare reports, sketches, working drawings, specifications, proposals, and budgets for proposed sites or systems.
  • Discuss plans with clients, contractors, consultants, and other engineers so that they can be evaluated and necessary changes made.
  • Provide advice on water quality and issues related to pollution management, river control, and ground and surface water resources.
  • Meet with clients, such as district or regional councils, farmers, and developers, to discuss their needs.
  • Plan and direct construction of rural electric-power distribution systems, and irrigation, drainage, and flood control systems for soil and water conservation.
  • Design agricultural machinery components and equipment, using computer-aided design (CAD) technology.
  • Test agricultural machinery and equipment to ensure adequate performance.
  • Visit sites to observe environmental problems, to consult with contractors, or to monitor construction activities.
  • Design food processing plants and related mechanical systems.
  • Design structures for crop storage, animal shelter and loading, and animal and crop processing, and supervise their construction.
  • Design and supervise environmental and land reclamation projects in agriculture and related industries.
  • Design sensing, measuring, and recording devices, and other instrumentation used to study plant or animal life.
  • Conduct educational programs that provide farmers or farm cooperative members with information that can help them improve agricultural productivity.

The above responsibilities are specific to Agricultural Engineers. More generally, Agricultural Engineers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

What is an Agricultural Engineer salary?

The median salary for an Agricultural Engineer is $84,410, and the average salary is $101,620. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Agricultural Engineer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Agricultural Engineers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Agricultural Engineers earn less than $51,160 per year, 25% earn less than $62,700, 75% earn less than $106,000, and 90% earn less than $166,620.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Agricultural Engineers is expected to change by 0.0%, and there should be roughly 100 open positions for Agricultural Engineers every year.

Median annual salary
$84,410
Typical salary range
$51,160 - $166,620
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
0.0%

What personality traits are common among Agricultural Engineers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Agricultural Engineer are usually higher in their Investigative, Realistic, and Enterprising interests.

Agricultural Engineers typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Agricultural Engineers typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Agricultural Engineers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Agricultural Engineer tend to value Independence, Working Conditions, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Agricultural Engineers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Agricultural Engineers strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Agricultural Engineers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Agricultural Engineers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, integrity, and analytical thinking.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Agricultural Engineers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Agricultural Engineers need?

Many Agricultural Engineers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Agricultural Engineers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Agricultural Engineers

  • 0.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 7.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 4.2% completed some college coursework
  • 8.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 42.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 26.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 11.6% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Agricultural Engineers

Agricultural Engineers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as engineering and technology, design, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Agricultural Engineers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Physics
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Agricultural Engineers

Agricultural Engineers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Agricultural Engineers need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and inductive reasoning in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Agricultural Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Inductive Reasoning
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Agricultural Engineers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Agricultural Engineers frequently use skills like critical thinking, judgment and decision making, and complex problem solving to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Agricultural Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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