Agricultural Engineering Schools Colleges & Universities

If you're thinking about becoming an engineer, consider schools in agricultural engineering. With the focus on renewable energy sources today, you could make an impact tomorrow.

Cultivate Success with an Agricultural Engineering Degree: Biological and agricultural engineering career opportunities require extensive knowledge in farm structures, power, climate control and machinery systems. Agricultural engineering schools offer curricula focusing on scientific principles for product development, raw material conversion, sustainable living, and environment protection. Professionals are employed by state departments of transportation, state departments of agriculture, technology firms, manufacturing companies and academic institutions. Engineers work in various worksites including outdoor locations. Many professionals travel extensively to areas within the United States and abroad. Most entry-level jobs require bachelor's degrees. To stay abreast of technological advances it is vital for you to maintain continuing education in your career concentration with an agricultural engineering degree. College graduates can expect to earn some of the highest salaries among their esteemed colleagues.

Earning Agricultural Engineering Degrees: A career in agricultural engineering requires a bachelor's degree in engineering from an accredited agricultural engineering program. Florida A&M University, Cornell University, Michigan State University, Purdue University at West Lafayette, NC State University and South Dakota State University are among the many agricultural engineering colleges and universities you can choose from that offer degree programs. Undergraduate requirements include a solid foundation in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, English, humanities and computer technology. Internships and cooperatives offer real-world experience during school.

High school students preparing for degrees in agricultural engineering are encouraged to focus on English, and complete advanced classes in mathematics and science. You can build a strong foundation in computer skills by taking computer assisted drafting and computer science. Shop classes provide machine and tool experience in addition to joining clubs that focus on agriculture.

Job Opportunities for Graduates with Degrees in Agricultural Engineering: Agricultural engineering professionals develop and test systems for harvesting, production, structures, power units, environmental controllers, yield monitors, and computerized field equipment. They also design and develop systems for air quality, noise, heating, cooling, and worker safety. The working environments of agricultural engineers include research laboratories, office settings, construction worksites, and outdoors. Depending on the job specialty, extensive foreign or domestic travel may be required.

Jobs are expected to increase by 12 percent by 2018. Engineers are employed by federal, state, and local governments. Professionals provide consulting to farmers and farm-related industries. Others work in industries including crops, livestock and manufacturing. Specialty positions held by agricultural engineers include:

  • • Waste specialists
  • • Researchers
  • • Developers
  • • Structure designers

Career Outlook: Jobs are expected to increase with the development of renewable energy sources, feed a developing population, and meet the growing demand for biosensors. During economic downturns engineers that continue their education will be favored to work on research and development projects. Staying current agricultural engineers can deliver the best value to employers.

Earnings: Average earnings in 2008 totaled $83,144 for those with an advanced degree, compared with $58,613 for those with a bachelor's degree only. People whose highest level of attainment was a high school diploma had average earnings of $31,283, according to the United States Census Bureau. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the average yearly earnings of agricultural engineers in 2008 as $72,850.

Bethany Harris


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