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Agricultural Engineers
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Description: what do they do?
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.
Also known as:
Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Systems Specialist, Conservation Engineer, Engineer, Product Engineer, Product Technology Scientist, Project Engineer, Research Agricultural Engineer

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: Reducing pollution in a farm’s water supply… Improving the efficiency of a rural electric power system… Discovering a new way to extend the life of a tomato… These are some of the projects an agricultural engineer might work on in the quest to make agricultural operations as efficient and productive as possible. Most agricultural engineers work in offices, with frequent research visits to farms, labs or rural areas. They work for government offices, engineering firms, universities and manufacturers. The ultimate goal for these engineers is to improve crop and livestock production. This career focuses on the design and manufacture of the equipment and facilities needed to reach that goal. Agricultural engineers examine the impact of plant and food production on the greater environment, and look for ways to reduce negative impacts. Sometimes they even make news headlines with breakthroughs on production techniques, such as genetic engineering and cloning. Agricultural engineers need an aptitude for science and technology, along with good oral and written communication skills. They rely heavily on their ability to recognize and solve problems. A bachelor’s degree in agricultural or biological engineering is the entry-level education needed. As the world population continues to expand, the need for the work of agricultural engineers will only continue to grow.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
1,700
2019 Employment
1,700
2029 Employment
2%
Percent change
100
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2019 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2029 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    Please note that these projections do not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different projections due to the rapidly changing economy. When revised data are available, they will be published here.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2019-29.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Agricultural Engineers in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$51,160
25%$62,700
Median$84,410
75%$106,000
90%$166,620


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Program, May 2020 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Bachelor's degree
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2019.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Create graphical representations of mechanical equipment.
  • Prepare proposal documents.
  • Document technical design details.
  • Communicate technical information to suppliers, contractors, or regulatory agencies.
  • Discuss designs or plans with clients.
  • Advise others regarding green practices or environmental concerns.
  • Prepare detailed work plans.
  • Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
  • Design industrial processing systems.
  • Investigate the environmental impact of projects.
  • Confer with other personnel to resolve design or operational problems.
  • Design structures or facilities.
  • Direct construction activities.
  • Develop operational methods or processes that use green materials or emphasize sustainability.
  • Direct environmental development activities.
  • Design electronic or computer equipment or instrumentation.
  • Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
  • Direct industrial production activities.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Food Production - Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Mathematics - Using math to solve problems.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Visualization - Imagining how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Originality - Creating new and original ideas.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Number Facility - Adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical 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.
  • Meet with clients, such as district or regional councils, farmers, and developers, to discuss their needs.
  • Provide advice on water quality and issues related to pollution management, river control, and ground and surface water resources.
  • 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.
  • Design food processing plants and related mechanical systems.
  • Visit sites to observe environmental problems, to consult with contractors, or to monitor construction activities.
  • 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.
  • Supervise food processing or manufacturing plant operations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.