Crop scientist, agricultural consultant, agronomy manager
Agronomists advise farmers on soil management and crop production.
Salary range: £20,000 to £45,000
How to become an agronomist
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- applying for a graduate training scheme
- specialist courses run by professional bodies
There’s no set route to become an agronomist but it may be helpful to do a foundation degree or degree in:
- crop and plant science
- soil science
You’ll usually need:
- at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could work towards this role by doing a relevant college course like a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could study for the BASIS Foundation Award in Agronomy if you’re new to the industry and have limited crop experience and knowledge. This will give you an introduction to agronomy, crop protection and crop nutrition.
You can also apply for a graduate training scheme if you have a degree. Schemes are offered by independent consultancies or companies selling agro-chemicals, seed or fertiliser products.
It’s really useful to get as much arable farming experience as possible.
Professional and industry bodies
You can find out more about how to become an agronomist from Tasty Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- science skills
- business management skills
- the ability to work well with others
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to learn through your work
- excellent verbal communication skills
- maths knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a full driving licence
You’ll need the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection if you’re advising on or selling pesticides in the UK. This is a legal requirement.
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- advising farmers on land management and how to improve their crop yields
- studying soil, water and other factors which affect crop growth
- creating chemical treatment plans to keep crops free of pests and weeds
- recording information on plant growth and environmental conditions
- carrying out field trials to solve clients’ crop problems
- keeping up to date with product developments and legislation
You could work in an office, on a farm, at a research facility or visit sites.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you’ll travel often.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
You could specialise in precision farming methods or developing nutrition plans for fruit or vegetable crops.
You could also study for a postgraduate master’s degree, like soil science or genetics, and become a consultant.