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Agricultural engineer

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Agricultural engineers make and maintain agricultural, horticultural and forestry machinery and equipment.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £25,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a foundation degree, HND or degree in:

  • agricultural engineering
  • environmental engineering
  • electrical or mechanical engineering

If you’ve got a further education qualification in a land-based engineering subject, or relevant experience, you could start as an agricultural engineering technician. You’d then complete further study to qualify as an engineer.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

The Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) has more information about becoming an agricultural engineer.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to analyse data
  • a creative approach to problem solving
  • the ability to prioritise and plan work effectively
  • good budgeting skills
  • leadership skills

3. What you'll do

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

You may also manage and coordinate sales, marketing and technical support.

4. Salary

Starter: £25,000

Experienced: £25,000 to £35,000

Highly Experienced: £40,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but your hours may be longer to meet deadlines.

You’ll usually be based in a laboratory or workshop. For design and research work you'll use an office.

You'll work on farms or construction projects in all weather conditions.

You may have to travel in the UK and overseas.

6. 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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Last updated: 13 September 2018