Career Profile: Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural engineering might sound like complicated work, but the nature of the job is really quite straightforward. It’s a collision of two worlds – bringing engineering solutions to agricultural projects, particularly concerning crop production and raising livestock.
What is an Agricultural Engineer?
An agricultural engineer designs the machines and tools used in farming including tractors, planters, animal housing facilities, harvesting machinery, drainage and soil conservation systems, water and flooding systems and much more. They are responsible for maintaining the efficiency of these machines and systems, making improvements to those that fail in order to meet the appropriate standards.
Who do They Work for?
Many work as consultants for large production companies or engineering firms that manufacture agricultural machinery and storage facilities. There are also teaching and research opportunities at colleges and universities and with branches of the federal government that deal with the farming industry. In some instances, they also work as sales representatives by selling products and engineering solutions to farmers and breeders in need.
What Education Do I Need?
If agricultural engineering is a field that piques your interest, it’s a good idea to focus on developing problem solving and critical thinking skills that enable you to think outside the box, so to speak. Typically, engineers will face problems with malfunctioning equipment and out-of-date practices that create time sensitive issues. Engineers must be able to think on their feet and discover solutions within the parameters given to them in the most efficient way possible.
In high school, it is recommended that students take advantage of all available courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. In university, these courses are further explored with the addition of computer science, crop science, leadership, design and engineering courses.