How to Become an Agricultural Equipment Design Engineer
Learn how to become an agricultural equipment design engineer. Research the education requirements, internships and experience that professionals need to start a career in agricultural equipment design.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Engineering
Those interested in becoming agricultural engineers specializing in equipment design will first need to complete a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering. Many agricultural engineering programs in the United States have achieved accreditation from ABET, formerly the American Board of Engineering Technology. These schools are recognized for their excellence in engineering education. In undergraduate programs, students may study such topics as earth sciences, math, soils science and physics. Additionally, students will need to master computer applications involved in computer-aided design and manufacturing.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience in Agricultural Engineering
Work experience - either as an intern during an engineering program or in an entry-level position post-graduation - helps budding agricultural engineers to develop their professional skills and engineering education. Some ABET-accredited programs will have internship opportunities designed to provide this type of career development to their students.
Step 3: Become a Licensed Professional Engineer
Not all engineers become Professional Engineers (PE). This credential is necessary for those engineers wanting to offer their services directly to the public. The requirements for licensure are usually completion of a four-year degree from an ABET-accredited program, passing the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, a period of supervised work experience and passing the Professional Engineering exam.
Step 4: Find a Position in Agricultural Design
Having finally mastered many of the skills involved in agricultural engineering, developed work experience and engaged in professional development - possibly through licensure - professionals are prepared work as agricultural equipment designers. At this point, the engineer will either need to find a design position at an existing company or find financial backing in order to either promote a new product or develop a patent that can then be licensed to manufacturers.
As of the 2011 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, agricultural engineers took home a median annual wage of $74,630 (www.bls.gov). Growth in the field was expected to be slower than the national average, at a rate of nine percent between 2010 and 2020.
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