Agricultural engineer

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How to become an agricultural engineer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You can do a foundation degree or degree in agricultural engineering or agricultural machinery engineering. These courses are offered by land-based engineering institutions.

You can also get into this career with a higher national diploma or degree in environmental, electrical or mechanical engineering.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree

More information

Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by doing a land-based service engineering technician advanced apprenticeship.

Once working, you would complete further training to become an engineer.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Work

You could work as an agricultural engineering technician and train on the job to qualify as an engineer.

More information

Further information

You can get more advice about careers and training from the Institution of Agricultural Engineers and the Landbased Engineering Training and Education Committee.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • assessing the environmental impact of agricultural production methods
  • supervising construction projects, like land drainage, reclamation and irrigation
  • solving engineering problems, like designing all-terrain vehicles to move over uneven ground in different weather conditions
  • testing and installing new equipment, like harvesters, crop sprayers and logging machinery
  • using  GPS, weather data and computer modelling to advise farmers and businesses on land use
  • planning service and repair programmes for machinery

Working environment

You could work in an office, on a farm or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

With experience you could move into project management or specialist technical research and development. 

You could also work towards incorporated or chartered engineer status by applying to the Engineering Council. As a chartered engineer you’ll plan, research and develop new ideas. The Institution of Agricultural Engineers has more information. 

You could also move into technical sales, business development, teaching or consultancy work.

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