How to Become an Agricultural Field Inspector: Career Guide

Learn how to become an agricultural field inspector. Research the education requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in agricultural field inspection.

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Do I Want to Be an Agricultural Field Inspector?

Agricultural field inspectors ensure that all agricultural products and practices comply with local, state and federal regulations. Job duties vary within each position, but tasks may include inspection, investigation, sampling and testing to assess compliance with government-regulated guidelines.

Although these professionals might work in climate-controlled laboratory settings, most work is likely done at on-site production and processing facilities, which could be noisy. Working on-site means the opportunity to travel to various facilities and possibly collect samples outside. Outside work might include working in all sorts of weather. Additionally, these inspectors could be exposed to diseased plant or animal by-products, although wearing safety gear can minimize these hazards.

Job Requirements

While not all employers require industry-related experience, a bachelor's degree is generally the minimum educational level for this career. Each state's agricultural department sets its own standards for agricultural field inspector requirements. The following table contains the core requirements for becoming an agricultural field inspector.

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma***; bachelor's degree may be preferred**
Degree Field Agricultural science, biology**
Licensure Requirements vary by state**
Experience Varies per job and state requirements; some employers provide on-the-job training***
Key Skills Quality control, problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, communication and reasoning skills*
Computer Skills Word processing, graphics, presentation and spreadsheet software*

Sources: *O NET Online, **iSeek, ***State government Department of Agriculture job postings.

Step 1: Complete a Degree Program

Not all states require candidates to hold a college degree, but some agriculture departments favor candidates with a bachelor's degree in agricultural sciences, biological science or a related field. Coursework covers soil science, animal science, agricultural business, plant physiology, greenhouse management and integrated pest management.

Success Tip:

  • Complete an internship. Students who enroll in a postsecondary training program may want to consider completing an internship while in school. These programs provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the field of agriculture and acquire some relevant work experience that will be valuable when applying for permanent positions following graduation.

Step 2: Apply for an Entry-Level Position

Job openings for agricultural field inspectors are regularly posted on state government websites. Not all positions require prior work experience, although eligibility guidelines vary depending on the job opening. Some employers may provide on-the-job training for qualified candidates.

Success Tip:

  • Obtain state licensure. Some states require agricultural field inspectors to obtain licenses. For example, California requires agricultural field inspectors to hold licenses that reflect their ability to provide consistent inspections and demonstrate technical proficiency. A weighmaster's license may also be required of agricultural field inspectors in some states. Agricultural field inspectors may also receive licensure in the areas of measurement verification, pesticide regulation, pest prevention and plant regulation.
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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    • Eligibility and relevancy of sample programs below will vary by article and program
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Arizona (3 campuses)
    • California (14)
    • Colorado (3)
    • Florida (5)
    • Georgia (5)
    • Illinois (7)
    • Indiana (2)
    • Michigan (1)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Missouri (2)
    • North Carolina (2)
    • New Jersey (2)
    • Nevada (1)
    • New York (2)
    • Ohio (4)
    • Oklahoma (1)
    • Oregon (1)
    • Pennsylvania (4)
    • Tennessee (2)
    • Texas (5)
    • Utah (1)
    • Virginia (3)
    • Washington (2)
    • Wisconsin (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your classroom preference?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Agriculture
      • Agricultural Business
        • Agricultural Economics
      • Animal Science
      • Food Sciences and Technologies
      • Plant Science
      • Soil Science
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Cornell University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Agriculture
      • Agricultural Business
        • Agribusiness Operations
        • Agricultural Economics
      • Animal Science
      • Food Sciences and Technologies
      • Horticulture
      • Plant Science
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Georgia include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Agriculture
      • Agricultural Business
        • Agribusiness Operations
        • Agricultural Economics
      • Animal Science
      • Food Sciences and Technologies
      • Horticulture
      • Plant Science
      • Soil Science
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Agriculture
      • Agricultural Business
        • Agricultural Economics
      • Agriculture Production
      • Animal Science
      • Food Sciences and Technologies
      • Horticulture
      • Plant Science
      • Soil Science
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Iowa State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Agriculture
      • Agricultural Business
        • Agribusiness Operations
        • Agricultural Economics
        • Farm and Ranch Management
      • Agriculture Production
      • Animal Science
      • Food Sciences and Technologies
      • Plant Science
      • Soil Science
  • School locations:
    • Mississippi (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Mississippi State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Agriculture
      • Agricultural Business
        • Agribusiness Operations
        • Agricultural Economics
      • Animal Science
      • Food Sciences and Technologies
      • Horticulture
      • Plant Science

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