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Swine Technician

Swine technicians may be involved in all aspects of hog production. They may specialize in a particular area such as breeding, farrowing, nursery, or finishing.

Also Known As

Agricultural Technician

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: Specialized Livestock Workers (8253.2) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Farm Supervisors and Specialized Livestock Workers (I013) 
  • 2011 NOC: Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers (8252) 
  • 2016 NOC: Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers (8252) 
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.

Specialized Livestock Workers
2006 NOC : 8253.2

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

METHODICAL

Interest in handling equipment to perform general farm duties; and in maintaining livestock performance records and in training horses

INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to formulate feeding programs

directive

Interest in supervising feeding, health and breeding programs; may supervise general farm workers and harvesting labourers

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 Mar 31, 2019

Duties vary from one position to another. In general, swine technicians monitor the health and well-being of pigs. To do this, they:

  • Recognize and treat health problems in pigs
  • Ensure that water is available and pigs are fed the correct amount and type of feed
  • Monitor barn environments, including temperature and air movement
  • Ensure humane handling, such as moving animals to other barn locations in a low-stress manner
  • Carry out breeding and artificial insemination
  • Help with births
  • Euthanize animals when necessary
  • Dock tails and clip teeth
  • Wean, weigh, and sort pigs
  • Administer vaccinations and other preventive treatments
  • Load hogs for transport
  • Use high-pressure washer systems to clean barns
  • Maintain equipment and buildings
  • Keep paper and electronic records of data such as births, weight gains, health treatments, and breeding dates
  • Perform general farm duties

Swine technicians may supervise farm labourers.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Swine technicians work primarily in barns. They also may work outdoors in all weather conditions. They must follow safety precautions to avoid injury when working with machinery and tools. They must wear protective clothing. They also must follow good animal hygiene practices to prevent or control the spread of diseases and parasites. Modern barns are well ventilated and manure is flushed out regularly.

Lifting heavy items routinely is required.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Swine technicians need:

  • Physical fitness
  • No dust or ammonia allergies
  • The ability to work independently and with others

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to farm duties, keeping records, and supervising feeding, health, and breeding programs.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
NOC code: 8252

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Jan 14, 2022 and May 27, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Perform general farm duties
Personal Suitability: Team player
Operate and maintain farm machinery and equipment
Monitoring animal health
Maintain work records and logs
Recognize and treat certain livestock health problems
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Tractor
Handling animals
Personal Suitability: Organized
Ensure farm safety and bio-security procedures are followed
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Less than high school

Employers are willing to hire and train people with no previous experience raising pigs if applicants like animals and are:

  • Honest, reliable, and punctual
  • Interested in working with pigs
  • Willing to work hard

There are no standard education requirements in this occupation. However, many employers prefer applicants with a minimum high school diploma as they can more successfully move up into management. To work independently, swine technicians need knowledge and experience related to:

  • Swine husbandry, such as breeding, farrowing, and feeding
  • Animal behaviour (to distinguish between healthy behaviours and signs of illness)
  • Low-stress livestock-handling techniques
  • Safety procedures
  • Keeping barns clean and sanitary
  • Maintaining equipment
  • Keeping paper and electronic records

The Government of Alberta offers the Green Certificate Program. The program provides apprenticeship-style training. It combines hands-on farm mentorship with formal education.

The program is free and available to students at all Alberta high schools. Various specializations, such as swine technician, are offered at each level. Graduates of the Level I Green Certificate Program are certified as farm production technicians. They may earn credits toward their high school diploma for each specialization they complete. Level II (farm production supervisor) and III (agribusiness manager) Green Certificates are also available. They are meant for people interested in a career in agriculture.

To participate in the Green Certificate Program, trainees must be at least 15 years of age and in grade 10, 11, or 12. The training takes about a year. That allows trainees to experience all 4 seasons on a farm.

For more information, students may visit the Green Certificate Program website or ask their guidance counsellor.


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 Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Swine technicians work on farms. Most hog farms are family-owned operations; about half have 1 or 2 employees. However, swine production operations are getting bigger and more specialized. For example, farms may specialize in breeding and producing piglets, raising piglets to market weight, or raising purebred hogs to sell as breeding stock.

Those who successfully complete Level 1 of the Alberta Green Certificate Farm Training program may progress to Level 2 (production supervisor) and Level 3 (farm business manager).

Swine technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 8252: Agricultural Service Contractors, Farm Supervisors and Specialized Livestock Workers. In Alberta, 79% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

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

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

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

In Alberta, the 8252: Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 1 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

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Swine technicians are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 8252: Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers.

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.

Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers

2016 NOC : 8252
Average Wage
$24.01
Per Hour
Average Salary
$52,845.00
Per Year
Average Hours
43.8
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.4
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 8252 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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $15.00 $34.49 $20.39 $18.43
Overall $17.50 $39.84 $24.01 $22.62
Top $18.00 $41.21 $27.16 $26.00

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
Public Administration
Agriculture
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

31%
31%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

88%
88%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

13%
13%

Vacancy Rate

7%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Alberta Pork website, Producer and Industry Information Centre: www.albertapork.com

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

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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