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How to Become an Agricultural Engineer

EXPECTED WAGE:
$76,000
Unemployment:
3%
Education:
Bachelor's degree

Education & Training

Agricultural engineers require a bachelor's degree; typically in biological engineering or in agricultural engineering. Employers also need people who have practical experience; therefore cooperative education engineering programs at universities are excellent choices.

High school students who wish to pursue a career in agricultural engineering will benefit from taking the following subjects: math including: calculus, algebra and trigonometry. Science classes including: physics, chemistry and biology are additionally valuable.

Bachelor's degrees can be earned within 4 years. Topics of study include: science, classroom, math, engineering principals and laboratory. Numerous universities and colleges offer ABET accredited cooperative programs to give students the opportunity to gain important knowledge while they study.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In order to be able to offer their services directly to the public, agricultural engineers need to be licensed. Licensed engineers are known as professional engineers or PEs. In order to obtain a license, the following criteria must be met:

A) An ABET accredited engineering program degree

B) Relevant work experience; typically a minimum of 4 years

C) A passing score on the PE or Professional Engineering exam

D) Passing score on the FE or Fundamentals of Engineering exam.

Individuals may wish to take the FE or Fundamentals of Engineering exam after they have completed their bachelor's degree. Engineers In Training (EITs) or Engineer Interns (EIs) are the common names given to engineers who pass the FE exam. Once suitable work experience has been obtained, EIs and EITs can take the second exam known as the Principals and Practice of Engineering.

Many cities require that engineers maintain continuing their education in order to keep a valid license.

Skills and Qualities that will Help

Math Skills: A variety of advanced topics in math including trigonometry and calculus are used for design, analysis and troubleshooting.

Listening Skills: It is vital for agricultural engineers to listen to clients, professionals and workers during projects in order to seek out and communicate appropriate information. They need to be able to discuss the concerns of the individuals who are relying on the solutions and systems they design.

Problem-Solving Skills: There are a copious amount of issues that affect agricultural production. Agricultural engineers work to remedy various aspects that pertain to food production. They cover water erosion and designing safer equipment and other essentials. These engineers need to apply the general principals of engineering under new circumstances.

Analytical Skills: Frequently, agricultural engineers design systems that are part of a bigger environmental or agricultural system; therefore they need to propose solutions that coincide with other equipment, people, the environment and machinery.

How To Advance

When starting out, beginning engineers typically work under the supervision of experienced engineers. Once experience and knowledge is gained, more advanced projects are tackled. Projects that require more responsibility are taken on leading to: independent design development, decision making and problem solving.

Agricultural engineers may decide to take on supervisory roles in the future. Others may explore agricultural sales and utilize their engineering background to describe the technical aspects of a particular product. They may wish to discuss product planning, use and installation of related goods.