Agricultural technical officers provide complex technical support and advise on aspects of agriculture such as research, production, servicing and marketing.
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.
Agricultural technical officers may perform the following tasks:
Agricultural technical officers may work in laboratories, in the field or both. They usually work in a team with other scientists.
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.
An artificial insemination technical officer uses artificial insemination techniques and controlled breeding experiments to develop improved livestock and herd strains.
A horticultural technical officer works on new methods of planting, fertilising, harvesting, processing and transporting crops, including fruit, vegetables, flowers and ornamental nursery crops.
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.