Agricultural Machinery

The field of agricultural machinery involves working with engines and other mechanical and electrical components that are part of a vehicle. Another career option involves creating the systems that make a piece of machinery run. Keep reading to learn more about working on agricultural machinery.

Is a Career in Agricultural Machinery for Me?

Career Overview

Workers are needed to design, maintain and repair all kinds of machines that are used on farms. Heavy equipment mechanics diagnose equipment failures, replace broken parts and perform routine work on agricultural machinery. If you become a service technician, you should be skilled at using power tools, jacks and diagnostic equipment. You'll need to be familiar with parts of farm machinery like the transmission and electric systems, and, additionally, you need to be comfortable getting your hands dirty. Nowadays, computer systems are also being incorporated into the service mechanic profession. Agricultural engineers design machines for harvesting, planting and raising crops. Qualities like clear written and oral communication skills, strong mathematical abilities and creativity can help you succeed in a farm equipment engineering position.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that mechanics who work on farm equipment would see an average 10% increase in job opportunities and agricultural engineers would experience an increase of 5% from 2012-2022, which is slower than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). Job growth for agricultural mechanics was likely to come from population growth and increased use of biofuels. In 2013, farm equipment repair mechanics earned a median annual income of $35,470, and agricultural engineers earned $74,450.

How Can I Work on Agricultural Machinery?

Education

You can find some jobs as an equipment mechanic without any postsecondary education, but many employers prefer to hire applicants who have completed a formal training program in diesel equipment. A certificate program in diesel and heavy equipment can give you the necessary skills to become a farm equipment mechanic in just a few semesters of study. Courses for a certificate program include heavy machinery welding, hydraulic systems and steering systems. If you wish to obtain a degree, an associate's program in agriculture diesel mechanics might be a good option. This type of program offers courses specifically tailored to mechanics who work on farm equipment, comprising studies in hay and seed systems, combine operation and agriculture power units.

You will need to complete a bachelor's program in engineering if you wish to work as an agricultural engineer. An engineering program with a concentration in biomechanics gives you the opportunity to learn how biological systems interact with farming equipment, in addition to learning how to design machine systems. A master's program in agricultural engineering is an option to consider if you want to continue your education after your undergraduate studies. Course options in an agricultural engineering graduate program may include modeling agricultural systems, analysis of biological systems and grain processing.

Licensing

When you are choosing a school for an engineering program, check to see if the college or university is accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Most states require you to complete an engineering program from an ABET-approved school in order for you to become licensed.

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