How to become a Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers study and advise on the use of engineering science and technology in agricultural production and management of natural resources. They apply their engineering knowledge and skills to solve problems relating to such things as sustainable agricultural production, the environmental impacts of intensive agriculture and the post-harvest handling of agricultural products.

Personal requirements of a Agricultural Engineer

  • Able to identify, analyse and solve problems
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Aptitude for computing and design
  • Able to accept responsibility and work without supervision

Education & Training for a Agricultural Engineer

To become an agricultural engineer you usually have to study engineering at university with a major in agricultural engineering. Entry usually requires you to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Contact the University of Southern Queensland for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.

Duties & Tasks of a Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers may perform the following tasks:

  • plan, supervise and manage the building of irrigation, drainage, flood and water control systems
  • design, develop and manage the manufacture of agricultural machinery, equipment and instrumentation, such as sensing, measuring and recording devices
  • plan and supervise the construction of farm and other related buildings, such as controlled environments (intensively housed livestock, greenhouses, nurseries and aquaculture, for example) and storage facilities (including grain silos and dryers)
  • supervise ground preparation, seeding and harvesting, spray technology, post-harvesting (processing and packaging) and transport equipment
  • supervise the cleaning, grading, milling, mixing, food processing, packaging and distribution of produce
  • perform environmental impact assessments
  • analyse, advise and plan for effective soil conservation and the control of water logging and soil salinity
  • conduct research and study the results of work on farms, forests and research stations
  • prepare and present reports.

Working conditions for a Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers may work indoors or outdoors, in a laboratory or office, or on a farm or research station. Their work involves the use of computers.

Employment Opportunities for a Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers may be employed in private consulting firms, or by manufacturers and distributors of agricultural and irrigation equipment, corporate farms, intensive animal industries and food processing plants. In the public sector, jobs may be available with state or territory governments in areas such as water supply, agriculture, forestry, soil conservation and environment protection. Employment can also be found overseas in both developed and developing nations.

Additional Information
Graduates may be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia. Visit their website for more details.
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