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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.

Also Known As

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

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Agricultural and Bio-resource Engineers (2148.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Other Professional Engineers, n.e.c. (C048) 
  • 2011 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
  • 2016 NOC: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. (2148) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Agricultural and Bio-resource Engineers

2006 NOC: 2148.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

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.

Traits & Skills
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
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

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.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Certain professional titles or duties within this occupation are protected by provincial legislation. Requirements vary if you use these titles or perform these duties.

The related legislation is shown below. If there are multiple related legislations, select a certification heading to learn about each one.

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 [pdf] and Engineering and Geoscience Professions General Regulation [pdf], you must register as a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering.

You do not have to register 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.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Engineer.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

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.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2148: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group, 81.9% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2148: Other professional engineers, n.e.c. occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 39 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Other professional engineers, n.e.c.

2016 NOC: 2148
Average Wage
$55.72
Per Hour
Average Salary
$112,155.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.7
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2148 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.16 $60.75 $47.14 $47.11
Overall $40.50 $71.16 $55.72 $54.79
Top $51.49 $93.32 $72.17 $70.56

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
14%
14%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
N/A
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
0%
0%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
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

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

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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