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Average Salary
$74,911
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
572
Job Openings

Agricultural Engineer Careers

An agricultural engineer is a type of engineer that specializes in agricultural systems, equipment, and facilities. Their main role is to help ensure optimal agricultural processes by improving agricultural systems, suggesting new equipment, and designing agricultural projects.

In general, the work duties of an agricultural engineer include inspecting agricultural machinery, estimating project costs, constructing buildings (e.g., irrigation systems, silos, production facilities, farms, etc.), resolving agriculture-related issues, and maintaining an open line of communication with their supervisors, agricultural workers, and project leaders.

The most common educational background for this role is, of course, a degree in agricultural technology. However, individuals with degrees in agriculture, biological engineering, and other related fields may also qualify. On top of education, anyone who wants to become an agricultural engineer must also have adequate work experience in the agricultural field.

On average, the salary of an agricultural engineer is roughly $74,000 per year. If they have to travel or relocate to rural and agricultural areas, an agricultural engineer may also receive additional compensation through allowances.

What Does an Agricultural Engineer Do

Agricultural engineers attempt to solve agricultural problems concerning power supplies, the efficiency of machinery, the use of structures and facilities, pollution and environmental issues, and the storage and processing of agricultural products.

Duties

Agricultural engineers typically do the following:

  • Use computer software to design equipment, systems, or structures
  • Modify environmental factors that affect animal or crop production, such as airflow in a barn or runoff patterns on a field
  • Test equipment to ensure its safety and reliability
  • Oversee construction and production operations
  • Plan and work together with clients, contractors, consultants, and other engineers to ensure effective and desirable outcomes

Agricultural engineers work in farming, including aquaculture (farming of seafood), forestry, and food processing. They work on a wide variety of projects. For example, some agricultural engineers work to develop climate control systems that increase the comfort and productivity of livestock whereas others work to increase the storage capacity and efficiency of refrigeration. Many agricultural engineers attempt to develop better solutions for animal waste disposal. Those with computer programing skills work to integrate artificial intelligence and geospatial systems into agriculture. For example, they work to improve efficiency in fertilizer application or to automate harvesting systems.

How To Become an Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers must have a bachelor’s degree, preferably in agricultural engineering or biological engineering.

Education

Students who are interested in studying agricultural engineering will benefit from taking high school courses in mathematics and sciences. University students take courses in advanced calculus, physics, biology, and chemistry. They also may take courses in business, public policy, and economics.

Entry-level jobs in agricultural engineering require a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor’s degree programs in agricultural engineering or biological engineering typically include significant hands-on components in areas such as science, mathematics, and engineering principles. Most colleges and universities encourage students to gain practical experience through projects such as participating in engineering competitions in which teams of students design equipment and attempt to solve real problems.

ABET accredits programs in agricultural engineering.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Agricultural engineers may design systems that are part of a larger agricultural or environmental system. They must be able to analyze the needs of complex systems that involve workers, machinery and equipment, and the environment.

Communication skills. Agricultural engineers must understand the needs of clients, workers, and others working on a project. Furthermore, they must be able to communicate their thoughts about systems and about solutions to any problems they have been working on.

Math skills. Agricultural engineers use calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced mathematical disciplines for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.

Problem-solving skills. Agricultural engineers’ main role is to solve problems found in agricultural production. Goals may include designing safer equipment for food processing or reducing erosion. To solve these problems, agricultural engineers must be able to creatively apply the principles of engineering.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an agricultural engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after earning a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam commonly are called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Advancement

New engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. As they gain knowledge and experience, beginning engineers move to more difficult projects and increase their independence in developing designs, solving problems, and making decisions.

With experience, agricultural engineers may advance to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Some advance to become engineering managers. Agricultural engineers who go into sales use their engineering background to discuss a product’s technical aspects with potential buyers and to help in product planning, installation, and use. For more information, see the profiles on architectural and engineering managers and sales engineers.

Engineers who have a master’s degree or a Ph.D. are more likely to be involved in research and development activities, and may become postsecondary teachers.

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Average Salary
$74,911
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
572
Job Openings

Agricultural Engineer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Agricultural Engineer

Top Careers After Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural Engineer Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for an Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural Engineers in America make an average salary of $74,911 per year or $36 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $101,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $55,000 per year.
Average Salary
$74,911
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Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Mountain View, CA
Salary Range69k - 125k$93k$93,441
Doral, FL
Salary Range63k - 108k$83k$82,746
Vineland, NJ
Salary Range65k - 103k$82k$82,069
Champaign, IL
Salary Range63k - 102k$81k$80,502
Riverhead, NY
Salary Range61k - 96k$77k$77,272
Houston, TX
Salary Range58k - 99k$77k$76,605
$45k
$125k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Extension Agricultural Engineer Professional
Extension Agricultural Engineer Professional
University of Maine
University of Maine
03/19/2021
03/19/2021
$65,00003/19/2021
$65,000
Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural Engineer
Company Business International SARL
Company Business International SARL
02/25/2021
02/25/2021
$35,47902/25/2021
$35,479
Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural Engineer
La Mision Associates
La Mision Associates
02/22/2021
02/22/2021
$77,76002/22/2021
$77,760
Agricultural Engineers
Agricultural Engineers
Bengard Marketing Inc.
Bengard Marketing Inc.
02/22/2021
02/22/2021
$150,00002/22/2021
$150,000
Agricultural/Biosystems Engineer (Computational)
Agricultural/Biosystems Engineer (Computational)
Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC
Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC
01/20/2021
01/20/2021
$93,39601/20/2021
$93,396
See More Recent Salaries

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Agricultural Engineer Demographics

Gender

male

73.5 %

female

19.8 %

unknown

6.8 %

Ethnicity

White

60.7 %

Asian

20.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.1 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

35.7 %

Arabic

28.6 %

French

21.4 %
See More Demographics

Agricultural Engineer Education

Majors

Agricultural Operation And Science

7.6 %

Degrees

Bachelors

66.4 %

Masters

12.4 %

Certificate

10.2 %

Top Colleges for Agricultural Engineers

1. Cornell University

Ithaca, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,188
Enrollment
15,105

2. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

3. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,816
Enrollment
21,047

4. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

5. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,555
Enrollment
30,360

6. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

7. University of California - Davis

Davis, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,402
Enrollment
30,698

8. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,101
Enrollment
23,708

9. Clemson University

Clemson, SC • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,374
Enrollment
19,564

10. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$15,094
Enrollment
32,974
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Agricultural Engineer That You May Like

Agricultural Economic Modeling Tools
edX (Global)

Agricultural system models play increasingly important roles in creating sustainable agriculture businesses across diverse agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions. Agricultural system models are being used for various types of landscape-scale, national, and global modeling and analysis. Models provide information to land managers, policymakers, and the general public that inform management practices, public policy design, research and development, and investment decisions in order to...

e-Learning on Digital Agriculture
edX (Global)

Digital Agricultural Technologies (DATs) are innovations that enable farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs to leapfrog to increase their productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness, facilitate access to markets, improve nutritional outcomes and enhance resilience to climate change. These technologies range from mobile apps to digital identities for farmers to solar applications for agriculture to portable agriculture devices. DATs are increasingly becoming indispensable in the global food...

Sustainable Agricultural Land Management
coursera

This course will cover the agricultural and urban water quality issues in Florida, their bases, land and nutrient management strategies, and the science and policy behind the best management practices (BMPs). Students will learn to evaluate BMP research and analyze its role in determining practices and policies that protect water quality...

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Top Skills For an Agricultural Engineer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 25.6% of agricultural engineers listed engineering practices on their resume, but soft skills such as problem-solving skills and analytical skills are important as well.

Best States For an Agricultural Engineer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an agricultural engineer. The best states for people in this position are Oregon, California, New Jersey, and Illinois. Agricultural engineers make the most in Oregon with an average salary of $94,735. Whereas in California and New Jersey, they would average $84,715 and $81,683, respectively. While agricultural engineers would only make an average of $81,639 in Illinois, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Oregon

Total Agricultural Engineer Jobs:
161
Highest 10% Earn:
$153,000
Location Quotient:
1.47
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Florida

Total Agricultural Engineer Jobs:
419
Highest 10% Earn:
$133,000
Location Quotient:
1.02
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Illinois

Total Agricultural Engineer Jobs:
279
Highest 10% Earn:
$125,000
Location Quotient:
0.89
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Agricultural Engineer Employers

1. United States Department of Agriculture
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$61,837
Agricultural Engineers Hired: 
15+
2. Julie's Clothing
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$64,009
Agricultural Engineers Hired: 
6+
3. Schroeder's Flowers
3.3
Avg. Salary: 
$59,721
Agricultural Engineers Hired: 
6+
4. Amazon.com
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$53,700
Agricultural Engineers Hired: 
6+
5. Indian Health Service
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$60,975
Agricultural Engineers Hired: 
5+
6. Glades Crop Care
2.8
Avg. Salary: 
$68,387
Agricultural Engineers Hired: 
5+
Updated October 2, 2020