How to become an Agricultural Engineering Technician. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does an Agricultural Engineering Technician do?
As an agricultural engineering technician you would install, service and sell agricultural and horticultural machinery, for example tractors and logging equipment. You might work in one of three areas: manufacturing, service and repair, or sales and marketing.
Manufacturing would involve:
- helping agricultural engineers develop new products
- creating equipment plans using computer aided design (CAD) software
- making parts and building the machinery
- testing the machinery’s electrical and mechanical systems.
Service and repair would cover:
- making maintenance checks on electrical, electronic, hydraulic and pneumatic systems
- installing machinery on site
- inspecting and testing equipment
- training machine operatives and agricultural workers.
Sales and marketing could include:
- researching machinery developments and market trends
- demonstrating and selling new equipment and parts
- managing client accounts
- dealing with enquiries and orders.
You could work for a variety of businesses, from equipment manufacturers to livestock or fish farms.
In manufacturing, you could be working in a factory or engineering workshop on a shift system.
Service and repair jobs may include long hours and overtime is common, particularly during the summer months.
In sales, you would be out on the road visiting clients, which could involve overnight stays away from home.
How much does an Agricultural Engineer Technician earn?
- Starting salaries can be between £15,000 and £18,000 a year.
- With qualifications, this can rise to between £15,500 and £24,000.
- Senior agricultural technicians can earn up to £29,000 a year.
You may receive extra allowances for working shifts and overtime.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You may be able to get into this career as an apprentice with an equipment manufacturer or service and repair contractor. Employers usually ask for around four GCSEs (grades A-C), in subjects like maths, English, science, engineering and design and technology, or equivalent qualifications.
You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find out more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
As an alternative, you could take the BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in Land-Based Technology before looking for work. The course is offered mainly by agricultural colleges and has several options, including:
- hydraulics and pneumatics
- electrical and electronic systems
- fault finding and repair.
The National Certificate and Diploma in Agriculture also contains units in machinery operations and vehicle technology.
For more information about careers, apprenticeship schemes and colleges, contact Lantra, the Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) and Career track.
Training and Development
Once you are working, you could take the NVQ in Land-based Service Engineering at levels 2 and 3. The award has several units, including:
- diagnosing faults in tractors and machinery
- dismantling and repairing machinery and parts
- testing repaired equipment
- welding skills.
With a Level 3 NVQ, you could improve your career prospects by registering with the Engineering Council to gain Engineering Technician (EngTech) status. See the Engineering Council website and IAgrE website for more details.
- Engineering Council
- Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE)
You could also help your career prospects by registering for the Land based Technician Accreditation scheme (LTA)through the IAgrE. They offer a programme of continuing professional development, which could help you to record and plan your career progression. See the LTA scheme website for more details.
- Landbased Technician Accreditation scheme (LTA)
Skills and Knowledge
- a keen interest in engineering technology
- good practical skills
- the ability to analyse and solve problems quickly
- the ability to manage and organise your own workload
- good communication and negotiation skills
- a reasonable level of fitness
- an awareness of health and safety legislation
- the ability to work alone and as part of a team
- a willingness to work flexibly.
Typical employers range from large multinational manufacturing companies to small machinery dealerships and service agents. In a multinational company, you may have the chance to work abroad, particularly in developing countries.
With experience, you could be promoted to senior technician, or move into training, sales or management roles.
You may find the following useful for job vacancies and general reading: (links open in new window)
- Institution of Agricultural Engineers
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