Professionals in the agriculture equipment technology field work with big farm machines. Read on to learn more about this field and its employment opportunities.
Agriculture equipment technology involves the upkeep and repair of heavy machinery used for work on farms and ranches. As a professional in this field, you'd work with machines like tractors, hydraulics, processors and irrigation systems. Since today's farmers use sophisticated equipment, you might use diagnostic computers to identify and fix high-tech problems. Other tasks could include assembling and testing new components for safety, cleaning and replacing parts, and conducting routine inspections of equipment. Work hours for agriculture equipment technology professionals vary greatly by season. During harvest, you could expect to work 10-12 hours per day, while in the slow winter months, you might work less than 40 hours per week.
If you're interested in working in agriculture equipment technology, job prospects look favorable over the 2012-2022 decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 9% growth in jobs for the broad field of heavy vehicle and mobile equipment service technicians and, more specifically, a 10% increase for agriculture equipment techs during that time. The job outlook looks the best for those with postsecondary education (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that farm equipment mechanics earned a mean annual wage of $36,390 in May 2013.
Agriculture equipment technology programs usually culminate in a diploma or an associate's degree. Courses include proper care and maintenance of specialized agriculture machinery, plus instruction on power sources, such as diesel engines, combustion engines and hydraulics. You'd also learn about vehicles and power equipment like pest maintenance machines, tractors, harvesting equipment, mechanized silos and elevators. Animal control and animal services machines and equipment are other possible topics.
If you're interested in furthering your knowledge in the field, you could earn a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering. Programs at this level may cover farmland management and conservation, agricultural safety, agribusiness, environmental design and energy use. Baccalaureates with an agricultural engineering degree can seek work with manufacturing companies and engineering firms or pursue a master's degree.