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Occupational Profile

Swine Technician

Swine technicians may be involved in all aspects of hog production or specialize in a particular area such as breeding or caring for pigs at a particular stage of growth.

  • Avg. Salary $46,953.00
  • Avg. Wage $20.96
  • Minimum Education Less than high school
  • Outlook N/A
Also Known As

Agricultural Technician, Farmer

NOC & Interest Codes
The Swine Technician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Specialized Livestock Workers
NOC code: 8253.2
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

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 Jul 07, 2016

Duties vary from one position to another but, in general, swine technicians:

  • monitor the health and well being of pigs
  • 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 (for example, move animals to other barn locations in a low stress manner)
  • carry out breeding and artificial insemination
  • assist births
  • euthanize animals when necessary
  • dock tails, clip teeth and vaccinate, wean and sort pigs
  • load hogs for transport
  • use high pressure washer systems to clean barns
  • maintain equipment and buildings
  • keep paper and electronic records (for example, births, weight gains, health treatments, breeding dates)
  • perform general farm duties.

Swine technicians may supervise farm labourers.

Working Conditions
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Swine technicians work primarily in barns but may work outdoors in all weather conditions. They must follow safety precautions to avoid injury when working with machinery and tools, wear protective clothing and 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 items that weigh up to 20 kilograms routinely is required.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Swine technicians need the following characteristics:

  • physically fit
  • no dust or ammonia allergies
  • able to work independently and with others.

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Jul 07, 2016

Many employers are willing to hire and train people who have no previous experience raising pigs if job 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 but, to work independently, swine technicians need knowledge and experience related to:

  • swine husbandry (for example, breeding, farrowing, 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 Alberta Green Certificate Program offered through the Government of Alberta is an apprenticeship-style training that combines hands-on farm mentorship with formal education.

The Green Certificate is a complimentary program of study available to students of all Alberta high schools. There are various specializations offered (for example, swine production) at each level. Graduates of the Level I Green Certificate Program are certified as farm production technician and may earn up to 16 credits towards their high school diploma for each specialization completed. Levels II (farm production supervisor) and III (agribusiness manager) Green Certificates are also available for those who are interested in advancing their career in the agriculture industry.

To participate in the Green Certificate Program, trainees must be at least 15 years of age and enrolled in grade 10, 11 or 12. The training takes approximately one year, allowing trainees to experience all of the seasons on a farming operation.

For more information about the program and admission requirements, students may follow the Green Certificate Program link above or contact their school representative to connect with the Green Certificate regional coordinator.


Related Education

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

Assiniboine Community College - Brandon

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Jul 07, 2016

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 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 (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.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Jul 07, 2016

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

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers occupational group earned on average from $18.01 to $23.93 an hour. The overall average wage was $20.96 an hour. For more information, see the Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • Natural Resources
    • Agriculture
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Jul 07, 2016

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

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 Feb 14, 2011. 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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