Agriculture

Agricultural engineer

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

Annual Salary

£25,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

40

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more Agricultural engineer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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 can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

You can do a foundation degree or degree in agricultural engineering. These courses are offered by Myerscough College and Harper Adams University.

You can also get into this career with a higher national diploma or degree in environmental, electrical or mechanical engineering.

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level for a foundation degree 
  • 2 to 3 A levels to do a degree or higher national diploma

Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by doing a land-based service engineering technician advanced apprenticeship.

Once working, you would complete further training to become an engineer.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Work

You could work as an agricultural engineering technician and train on the job to qualify as an engineer.

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

£25,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £25,000

Experienced salary: £25,000 to £35,000

These figures are a guide.

40

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.

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of physics
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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