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Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural engineers integrate engineering science and design with applied biological science to solve problems in agriculture, food and other resource industries.

  • Avg. Salary $88,938.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.60
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 2,300
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Biosystems Engineer, Design Engineer, Farm Equipment Engineer, Professional Engineer, Bioresource Engineer, Biological Engineer

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Average Wage
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  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Agricultural Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Agricultural and Bio-resource Engineers
NOC code: 2148.1
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to develop criteria and specifications for the design, manufacture and construction of equipment, structures and facilities, and for processes and procedures

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to design machinery, equipment and systems, and to use technical equipment to conduct experiments and perform data analysis

DIRECTIVE

Interest in supervising the installation of equipment and systems

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Agricultural engineers apply engineering principles and techniques to the efficient and effective production, development and evaluation of agricultural crops, livestock, fish, food and energy.

Agricultural engineers may specialize in areas such as the relationships among organisms and their environments, soil and water, structures and environments, power and machinery, electronic and computer applications, or electrical power and processing. Depending on their specialty, they may:

  • design equipment and agricultural machinery
  • develop plans for the design and layout of agricultural structures and utilities such as farm buildings, farm electrical systems, food or feed processing plants, waste management systems or bioenergy processes 
  • design and supervise drainage, waste management, land improvements and irrigation projects
  • design and supervise environmental and land reclamation projects in agriculture and other related industries
  • carry out environmental studies and assessments
  • develop technologies and practices to improve the sustainability of crop and livestock production
  • design food and bioprocessing plants and related mechanical systems
  • work with others to develop and enforce regulations
  • supervise agri-food, feed or fibre processing or manufacturing plant operations.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Agricultural engineers work in offices but sometimes travel to production or processing sites, research laboratories or other locations to do field tests or study equipment and processes. Their work can be very demanding and time consuming due to the seasonal and weather-dependent nature of the industries in which they work.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Agricultural engineers need the following characteristics:

  • an aptitude for mathematics, physics, chemistry, mechanics and the biological sciences
  • the ability to analyze and solve problems
  • a strong work ethic
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • strong project management skills.

They should enjoy being innovative and doing work that requires precision.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Agricultural engineering students may find a farm background helpful but it is not essential. 

A bachelor's degree in agricultural or bioresource engineering is the usual educational prerequisite for working in this field, although individuals who have degrees in civil, mechanical or other branches of engineering may work in certain types of agricultural engineering positions.

Currently, no bachelor degree programs in agricultural engineering are offered in Alberta. However, a scholarship is available for Alberta students studying in this field in other provinces. For more information, contact the Office of Student Awards at the University of Alberta.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Engineer

Professional Engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act, you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a professional engineer. You do not have to be registered if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a professional engineer or use the word engineer in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer requires: (1) a 4-year bachelor's degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, (2) a minimum of 3 acceptable references and (3) successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism. A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit APEGA's website or contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered engineers in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory? and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Licensing Process on AlbertaCanada.com.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T5J 4A2
Phone number: 780-426-3990
Toll-free phone number (within North America): 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877
Email: email@apega.ca
Website: www.apega.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Agricultural engineering graduates usually begin working as trainees. As they gain experience, they advance to positions of greater responsibility in industry, government, universities or research institutes. Agricultural engineers in industry are employed by:

  • producers, manufacturers and distributors of agricultural machinery, instruments, equipment and structures
  • power and light companies
  • agri-food processing firms
  • firms in the energy industry
  • consulting firms.

They work as:

  • project managers
  • designers
  • researchers
  • sales and service advisors
  • production managers.

In government, agricultural engineers may work:

  • in community education
  • in applied research
  • in regulatory positions
  • as consultants on the development of agricultural projects relating to the construction of specially designed buildings, machinery, irrigation and drainage, waste handling and energy conservation systems.

Teaching or conducting research at the university level generally requires a doctoral (PhD) degree.

Advancement may come through assignments to more difficult or more responsible work, doing independent agricultural research, or developing new agricultural products. For those who have an interest in supervisory, administrative or management positions, work as a chief engineer or plant manager may be an option. Many engineers seeking executive positions obtain graduate training in engineering or business administration to improve their opportunities for advancement.

Agricultural engineers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2148: Other professional pngineers. In Alberta, 86% of people employed in this classification work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,300 Albertans are employed in the Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 95 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As agricultural engineers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for agricultural engineers.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

A growing number of agricultural engineers are finding employment in developing countries where their skills are needed to adapt existing technologies to local conditions.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Other professional engineers, n.e.c.
NOC code: 2148

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
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Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
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  • Average
  • Median
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Overall
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Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $28.85 $47.92 $34.27 $28.85
Overall $33.65 $62.23 $43.60 $35.91
Top $36.06 $89.83 $48.49 $40.32

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

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Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

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Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Design Studies
  • Natural Resources
    • Agriculture
    • Environmental Stewardship
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website: www.apega.ca

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development website: www.agric.gov.ab.ca

American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) website: www.asabe.org

Canadian Society for Bioengineering (CSBE) website: www.bioeng.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jan 13, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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