Farmers and communities around the world depend on the science of agriculture to make their life possible. Healthy plants grow from healthy soil, which is commonly depleted by over-farming, adding chemicals, and by natural wind and water erosion. Agricultural Engineers are responsible for coming up with farming practices that will use soil and farm land more efficiently. You may participate in a range of activities like planning animal habitats, producing better ways to process food, or inventing new methods of irrigation. Agricultural Engineers work with farmers and manufacturers to improve food safety, farming systems and tools.
As a major in Agricultural Engineering you will be required to make certain classes. These will vary depending on the college you attend. Some of these classes could include environmental studies, chemistry, calculus, biology, agricultural engineering design, biochemistry, hydrology, soil science, water resources engineering, biological and agricultural energy systems, and food processing engineering.
In order to be successful in this field you should have strong critical thinking skills. By using logic and reasoning you will come up with creative and alternative solutions to the problems that you will come across. You should also be able to multitask and handle complex problems. These problems will be difficult, but if you have determination you should be able to work through them especially with the help of your professors or your group members. Problem solving should not be intimidating to you.
Engineers frequently work on teams to come up with solutions to problems. You may be asked to work with other engineers, farmers, or even the government, therefore you need to be able to work with people from a variety of backgrounds. Good communication and listening skills are important to understand what your clients, co-workers, or other professionals want.
You should have a strong mathematical ability and understand the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other mathematic skills. Science and biology will also play a large role in your everyday life. Also, system analysis should be something that you are interested in because you will be creating solutions and upgrades that affect different machinery and equipment.
Most programs will require an internship or a certain number of hours working with a co-op. This will provide you with excellent experience to prepare you for a career.
There are many career opportunities available in the field of Agricultural Engineering. You can work with farmers applying technical advances to farming and their systems. Another career path could be working with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to help agronomists develop crops and get the most out of their land as possible. Agricultural Engineers also find jobs working for the government or companies reducing pollution. Other areas you may choose to specialize in include the research, development, production, sales, or even management of power systems and machinery design.
Employment growth in this field is slower than average at only 9% by 2020. Demand is expected to come from United States firms for in developing farm technology products. Graduates with a degree in agricultural engineering average $56,082 as a starting salary with a mid-career salary of $88,718.
Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Agricultural Engineering (AE) might open up.