How to become a Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers provide complex technical support and advise on aspects of agriculture such as research, production, servicing and marketing.

Personal requirements of a Agricultural Technical Officer

  • Good at science
  • Able to analyse and solve problems
  • Enjoy agriculture and the environment
  • Able to make accurate observations and recordings
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Enjoy working outdoors

Education & Training for a Agricultural Technical Officer

To become an agricultural technical officer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in agriculture, horticulture, sustainable agriculture or animal technology. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in agricultural science, or a science degree with a major in agriculture-related studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers may perform the following tasks:

  • work with agricultural scientists using small plot experiments to compare plant varieties and test the effects of various treatments on growth and yield
  • work with soil scientists to study irrigation techniques and analyse plants used in soil treatment experiments
  • work with plant breeders to produce new strains and select superior products
  • work with animal breeders using artificial insemination techniques to produce offspring that mature earlier
  • record and interpret experimental data in field experiments
  • interpret aerial photographs and prepare maps showing soil and vegetation patterns
  • assist in the chemical analysis and laboratory culture of microorganisms that cause diseases in plants and animals
  • carry out research and provide advice about various technical issues.

Working conditions for a Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers may work in laboratories, in the field or both. They usually work in a team with other scientists.

Employment Opportunities for a Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers are employed by state, territory and federal government departments; the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO); pastoral companies; agricultural chemical manufacturers; and farm consultancies. In the past, government organisations were the major employers of agricultural technical officers. However, government positions are now often offered as short-term contracts based on project funding. Much of the work has been contracted out to private businesses and consultancy practices.

Specialisations:


Artificial Insemination Technical Officer

An artificial insemination technical officer uses artificial insemination techniques and controlled breeding experiments to develop improved livestock and herd strains.


Horticultural Technical Officer

A horticultural technical officer works on new methods of planting, fertilising, harvesting, processing and transporting crops, including fruit, vegetables, flowers and ornamental nursery crops.


Poultry Technical Officer

A poultry technical officer is involved in the production, management, processing and marketing of eggs, chickens, turkeys and game birds, including breeding and disease control.

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