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Career Profile: Agricultural Technicians

Work with agricultural scientists in plant, fiber, and animal research, or assist with animal breeding and nutrition. Set up or maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens or record data to assist scientists in biology or related life science experiments. Conduct tests and experiments to improve yield and quality of crops or to increase the resistance of plants and animals to disease or insects.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 16,400 people employed as agricultural technicians in the United States. The median annual salary is $40,430. Entry level employees earn approximately $29,010 per year and senior employees earn approximately $62,200 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Prepare culture media, following standard procedures.
  • Transplant trees, vegetables, or horticultural plants.
  • Prepare or present agricultural demonstrations.
  • Determine the germination rates of seeds planted in specified areas.
  • Assess comparative soil erosion from various planting or tillage systems, such as conservation tillage with mulch or ridge till systems, no-till systems, or conventional tillage systems with or without moldboard plows.
  • Respond to general inquiries or requests from the public.
  • Perform crop production duties, such as tilling, hoeing, pruning, weeding, or harvesting crops.
  • Record environmental data from field samples of soil, air, water, or pests to monitor the effectiveness of integrated pest management (IPM) practices.
  • Conduct studies of nitrogen or alternative fertilizer application methods, quantities, or timing to ensure satisfaction of crop needs and minimization of leaching, runoff, or denitrification.
  • Conduct insect or plant disease surveys.
  • Maintain or repair agricultural facilities, equipment, or tools to ensure operational readiness, safety, and cleanliness.
  • Prepare land for cultivated crops, orchards, or vineyards by plowing, discing, leveling, or contouring.
  • Operate farm machinery, including tractors, plows, mowers, combines, balers, sprayers, earthmoving equipment, or trucks.
  • Perform laboratory or field testing, using spectrometers, nitrogen determination apparatus, air samplers, centrifuges, or potential hydrogen (pH) meters to perform tests.
  • Perform tests on seeds to evaluate seed viability.
  • Perform general nursery duties, such as propagating standard varieties of plant materials, collecting and germinating seeds, maintaining cuttings of plants, or controlling environmental conditions.
  • Devise cultural methods or environmental controls for plants for which guidelines are sketchy or nonexistent.
  • Record data pertaining to experimentation, research, or animal care.
  • Measure or weigh ingredients used in laboratory testing.
  • Prepare data summaries, reports, or analyses that include results, charts, or graphs to document research findings and results.
  • Set up laboratory or field equipment as required for site testing.
  • Prepare laboratory samples for analysis, following proper protocols to ensure that they will be stored, prepared, and disposed of efficiently and effectively.
  • Examine animals or crop specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems.
  • Collect animal or crop samples.
  • Supervise pest or weed control operations, including locating and identifying pests or weeds, selecting chemicals and application methods, or scheduling application.
  • Supervise or train agricultural technicians or farm laborers.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
16,400
Annual Openings:
2,600
Increase in Openings by 2031:
10%
Annual Salary Range:
$29,010 - $62,200
Education Requirements:
Associate's degree