How to Become an

Agricultural Engineer

The complete career guide to be an Agricultural Engineer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $78,490
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 3.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

Agricultural engineers design products and systems that improve processes, promote efficiencies, and streamline workflows in the agriculture industry. They design layouts for farmlands, invent and develop new farming machinery, and design systems, structures, and materials that increase production.

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What is an Agricultural Engineer?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in agricultural engineer roles:

  • Design systems, machinery, and equipment to expedite workflows and improve production on farms
  • Design structures used in agriculture that create more ideal environments for livestock or produce
  • Evaluate existing systems of agriculture to formulate plans for revision and improvement
  • Employ computer-aided design (CAD) software for assistance with planning

A Day in the Life

Agricultural engineers are in the business of designing more efficient systems for the agriculture industry. This includes a variety of responsibilities and specializations. Agricultural engineers may develop plans for new and efficient farm machinery, including both manually operated equipment and equipment guided by artificial intelligence. They may develop structures used on farms that house either crops or livestock, formulating plans designed to increase comfort or production in structures.

Some agricultural engineers are involved in planning for farms before they begin production. These engineers create layouts for farmlands that consider what types of crops should be planted in which areas depending on soil type and quality, what areas will receive less or more sunlight over the course of a day, and how to transform the land to create drainage patterns that will aid in crop production. These agricultural engineers spend a lot of time surveying and testing the land to form their plans.

Other agricultural engineers are more concerned with the byproducts of agriculture. They may design more efficient and safe methods of animal waste disposal, create new forms of fertilizer for improved crop production, or develop new systems of refrigerating and preserving harvested crops. While some of the time spent working will be in an office, agricultural engineers also spend a significant amount of time in the field observing their implemented plans as well as general operations on working farms.

Typical Work Schedule

Most agricultural engineers work full-time hours, though their schedules can be impacted by poor weather conditions. It is not unusual for an agricultural engineer to work 60 hours one week and 20 hours another due to weather impacting the engineer’s ability to perform his/her role.

Typical Employers

Agricultural engineers are most commonly hired by engineering companies, federal, state, and local governments, food manufacturing companies, and colleges/universities.

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How To Become an Agricultural Engineer

The first step in becoming an agricultural engineer is to earn a bachelor’s degree. Most commonly, aspiring agricultural engineers major in agricultural engineering, though other engineering programs may be sufficient as well. Regardless of the degree pursued, students should take coursework focused on agriculture management. Courses focused on water and soil management, farm machinery planning, geographic information systems, and natural resource engineering are beneficial for this career field.

With a bachelor’s degree, you should be able to find entry-level work as an agricultural engineer. However, many aspiring agricultural engineers opt to become licensed agricultural engineers in order to qualify for higher-paying roles. To become a licensed agricultural engineer, you must first take and pass a Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Passing this exam qualifies you to enter an internship or apprenticeship program under an experienced, professional agricultural engineer.

Each state has different requirement for licensure, but in general, around 4 years of professional intern, entry-level, or apprentice training is required to move on to the next step of licensure. With the appropriate amount of prerequisite experience, you can qualify to take the Professional Engineering exam. Passing this exam will earn you a license to practice as an engineer in your state. However, to maintain licensure, you may also need to take continuing education courses throughout your career.

Agricultural Engineer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Agricultural Engineer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Agricultural Engineer's can make an average annual salary of $78,490, or $38 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $59,810 or $29 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #147 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming an Agricultural Engineer. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Agricultural Engineers

  • 8%   Doctorate
  • 20.8%   Masters
  • 53.3%   Bachelors
  • 11.7%   Associates
  • 4.1%   College
  • 2.1%   High School
  • 0%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Agricultural Engineer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 100 jobs for a total of 3,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 3.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #504 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Agricultural Engineers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Engineering services 400 --- ---
Federal government, excluding postal service 400 -100 ---
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state 300 --- ---

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