Agricultural engineers—also known as biological and agricultural engineers—work on a variety of activities. These activities range from aquaculture (raising food, such as fish, that thrive in water) to land farming to forestry; from developing biofuels to improving conservation; from planning animal environments to finding better ways to process food.
Agricultural engineers work much of the time in offices. They also spend time at a variety of worksites, both indoors and outdoors, traveling to agricultural settings to see that equipment and machinery are functioning according to both the manufacturers’ instructions and federal and state regulations.
How to Become an Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural engineers must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in agricultural engineering or biological engineering. Employers also value practical experience, so cooperative-education engineering programs at universities are valuable as well.
The median annual wage for agricultural engineers was $74,000 in May 2012.
Employment of agricultural engineers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Agricultural engineers are pursuing new areas related to agriculture, such as high-tech applications to agricultural products, water resource management, and alternative energies.