Employment of agricultural engineers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. The need to increase the efficiency of agricultural production systems and to reduce environmental damage should maintain demand for these workers.
Agricultural engineers have been expanding the range of projects they work on. Some of these new project areas that will drive demand for this occupation are alternative energies and biofuels; precision and automated farming technologies for irrigation, spraying, and harvesting; and, even more cutting edge, how to grow food in space to support future exploration.
New, more efficient designs for traditional agricultural engineering projects such as irrigation, storage, and worker safety systems will also maintain demand for these workers. Growing populations and stronger global competition will continue to pressure farmers to find more efficient means of production, and toward this end, they will need agricultural engineers.
Typically, graduates of engineering programs have good job prospects and can often enter related engineering fields in addition to the field in which they have earned their degree. Agricultural engineering offers good opportunities, but it is a small occupation, and engineers trained in other fields, such as civil or mechanical engineering, also may compete for these jobs. Graduates of biological and agricultural engineering programs may have some advantage when applying for agricultural engineering jobs, but some may find good prospects outside of the agricultural sector.
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program