Irrigation Technician: Salary and Career Facts

Irrigation technicians set up and repair sprinkler systems. Find out what you can learn in irrigation certificate and degree programs, and take a look at certification options and the employment outlook by reading on. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Irrigation Technician?

Irrigation technicians are hired to install or repair irrigation systems. For larger operations they may even be hired to inspect and maintain them. Prior to installment they may visit a location to make suggestions on what may be needed. When installing systems they must be able to read plans and be knowledgable of what the system is. They may also adjust irrigation settings such as timers. All work they do is documented, as are inspection results and parts used. Take a look at the following chart for an overview of how to enter this field.

Degree Required High school diploma or equivalent, associate's degree
Key Responsibilities Install irrigation systems, inspect irrigation systems, repair irrigation systems and conduct maintenance on those systems
Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% to 8% (for all farm equipment mechanics and service technicians)*
Median Salary (2016) $37,066 **

Source: *ONet Online, **PayScale.com

What Types of Programs for Irrigation Technicians Are Available?

You can find a number of certificate and associate's degree programs at community colleges around the U.S. Some offer irrigation as specializations within landscaping or agriculture degree programs. Courses in certificate programs address such topics as irrigation system design, systems installation, water resources management, plant science and, in some instances, golf course irrigation. Associate's degree programs may add coverage of pumps and motor controls, electrical systems, cost estimating and troubleshooting, along with general education courses in communications and mathematics.

Are There Certification Options?

The Irrigation Association (www.irrigation.org) has two certification options for irrigation professionals - the Certified Irrigation Contractor (CIC) and the Certified Irrigation Designer (CID). You need to accumulate a combination of three years' irrigation experience and education and pass a written exam to obtain CIC certification. CID certification also requires three years of work experience and education, as well as the passage of three exams. Professionals can maintain certification by completing 20 continuing education units every two years.

Where Do Professionals Work?

Landscaping companies, state and federal agricultural agencies, golf courses, schools and municipal parks departments are among your possible employers. Some technicians also work as independent contractors. Primary duties include installing ground sprinkler systems, setting controls and timers and replacing worn system components. Specific figures for irrigation technicians weren't available, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,205,800 workers held jobs in landscaping and groundskeeping, as of 2008. The BLS projects employment in the category will grow 18% from 2008-2018.

What Can an Irrigation Technician Expect to Earn?

The median annual salary of irrigation workers who reported earnings to Payscale.com was $37,066, as of October 2016. However, a comparison of salaries in ten major U.S. cities by Salary Expert (www.salaryexpert.com) showed irrigation technicians specifically in landscaping earning $29,579.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

A couple mechanical careers that relate to irrigation technicians' include electric motor and power tool repairers and automotive mechanics. Similar to irrigation technicians, clients depend on these professionals to be able to diagnose and repair the tools and equipment they work on. These professions also usually require a high-school diploma, associate's degree or post secondary diploma. As an electric motor and power tool repairer you'll be asked to assess the performance of power tools, replace broken or worn parts and keep an inventory of supplies. Automotive mechanics have to do the same duties, but for automobiles instead of power tools.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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