Career Profile: Agricultural Engineer
Everyone needs help at some point. For people working to provide food for others, agricultural engineers can be very helpful in solving problems or dealing with crises that occur. If you want to help provide a very essential service for people, you might want to consider becoming an agricultural engineer.
When food comes to your table at home, you might not think about the people who grow the fruits, vegetables, and grains or who raise the animals that provide meat or wool. Producing all these things can be very complicated, but agricultural engineers can help to make the job easier.
Agricultural engineers normally work for private companies, government agencies, or consulting firms. Salaries start at about $49,000 per year and can rise to more than $60,000, although most salaries are in the higher range. Much of the work is in offices, but people in this profession sometimes go to the fields and orchards to see for themselves what needs to be done.
Each day, agricultural engineers try to make farms and ranches run more effectively and efficiently. They check to see what kind of equipment the farmers or ranchers are using, identify inefficient areas, and try to find ways to increase yields of grain, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Reducing waste and finding the best environmental techniques can be a large part of the job.
Since every farm or ranch is different, agricultural engineers need to be as familiar as possible with the variety of soil types, seeds, and animals in the region. They might help design new buildings for livestock such as cattle or sheep, recommend new irrigation systems that make better use of water, or find ways of treating the soil, especially in very dry or very wet years. Writing reports can also be part of the job, as well as checking back with farmers and ranchers to make sure that they are doing everything right.
Working as an agricultural engineer requires a very broad knowledge of many different subjects, including civil, mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering. Normally, a four-year engineering degree is the minimum requirement for this job. In high school, courses in English, mathematics, and geology are helpful, and a good knowledge of nutrition is also useful. Many agricultural engineers design equipment as well as gather and analyze information, and courses in mechanics can also be very useful.
Because the work relates to farming, most jobs for agricultural engineers happen near areas where farming is common. However, much of the research can take place in universities and other facilities, and people in this profession need not always live in farming communities.
Currently, jobs are most likely to be available in the Prairie Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, where most of the farming happens, or in Ontario and British Columbia, where most of the fruit comes from. Quebec currently has good opportunities, and even Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia have many career options.
Helping other people succeed can be very satisfying, especially when it involves something as basic as food. Agricultural engineers have an important role in supporting farmers and ranchers and thus supplying food for everyone else. If you are thorough and like to solve problems, this job could be right for you.
Eco Canada. “Agriculture Engineer.” https://eco.ca/career-profiles/agriculture-engineer/.
Indeed.com. “What Do Agricultural Engineers Do? (With Duties and Skills).” https://ca.indeed.com/career-advice/finding-a-job/agricultural-engineers.
Job Bank. “Agricultural Engineer in Canada.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/outlook-occupation/5413/ca.
Job Bank. “Agricultural Engineer in Canada: Employment Requirements.” https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/requirements/5413/ca.
Payscale Canada. “Agriculture Engineer.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Agricultural_Engineer/Salary.