Are you fascinated by big farm machines? Do you love plants and animals? Are you a fan of math and science? If you answered yes to these questions, studies in agriculture equipment technology may be a good fit for you. 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 2008-2018 decade. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected an eight percent growth in jobs for heavy and mobile equipment service technicians and agricultural mechanics during that time, along with an excellent job outlook for those with postsecondary education (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that farm equipment mechanics earned a mean annual wage of $34,680 in May 2010.
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.