An agriscience career doesn't have to involve farming. In fact, according to the USDA, on-farm employment accounted for only 1.4 percent of U.S. employment in 2016. There are a number of different career fields available to individuals with agriscience degrees.
Career Paths for Agriscience Majors
While some students who graduate with an agriscience degree may end up doing some sort of outdoor farm related work, others will find they are attracted to different types of jobs that relate to agriculture and natural resources. Careers may involve working with farm safety, animals, environmental work, soil, biotechnology, and education.
International jobs are also available, usually in education, development, or support of farming and environmental practices in developing countries.
According to Environmental Science.org, some of the many occupations for people in agriscience include:
- Agriculture engineer
- Bee Keeper
- Conservation planner
- Endangered Species Biologist
- Forest Health Specialist
- Park ranger
- Water quality specialist
- Wild life officer
Some of the careers listed above may need additional education or on-the-job training before you are qualified for that position. Speaking with a career counselor can help put you on the right path for your future agriscience career.
Find a Job
Places that often hire people with agriscience and natural resource degrees and experience include:
- Parks and wetland management
- Farm equipment companies (John Deere)
- Seed companies (Monsanto)
- County extension agencies
- State and federal organizations
To get started finding a job, ask for help from a former internship supervisor, your college's career officer, or look online with field specific job search engines like AgCareers.com.
Occupational Outlook for Agriscience Careers
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps track of job descriptions, training, and the outlook for jobs in America. The following occupations all relate to agriscience and natural resources:
- Engineering and Natural Sciences Managers: A higher degree (such as a Masters or Ph.D.) is often required for many managerial positions. Work can include quality control, developing or testing various products for use in agriculture science. Strong management and organizational skills are a must. Employment is expected to grow at an average rate.
- Agricultural Workers: Ag workers often find themselves working as farmhands, laborers, equipment operators, gardeners, and breeders in rural areas. Work is often strenuous and is performed outdoors. In some places work is seasonal. Many skills can be taught on the job; however, advancement or supervisory roles will require additional education. Job prospects are plentiful due to high turnover rates. However, industry employment overall is expected to decline.
- Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers: Farmers and ranchers often own or operate their own farms or are hired to operate a consolidation of farming establishments. The size (small family farm or large ranch operation) and type of farm (dairy, wheat, corn) frequently determines the type of work that will be done. Although training used to be on the job, it is becoming more important than ever for farmers and ranchers to have a degree if they want to make a living. Job opportunities should be favorable, despite a moderate decline in employment due to fewer small farmers being able to make a living. Agricultural manager positions are expected to grow slightly, as large farm operations are operated as a business.
- Science Technicians: This field of work can include agricultural and food science technicians, who research, develop, and test food and other ag products. Work can include finding friendly herbicides or more pest resistant crops. Environmental science and protection technicians will work to preserve the environment, possibly in conjunction with agricultural practices. Overall employment of science technicians is expected to grow at an average rate, while job growth depends up on specialty and training/education of applicants.
If you are not sure exactly where your career interests lie in agriscience, use the Career Explorer provided by the National Future Farmers of America (FFA), to look for careers by cluster, keyword, industry, training/education, and interest.
Additional Agriscience Information
Learn more about agriscience careers and natural resources by checking into the following resources:
- American Farm Bureau: A voluntary organization comprised of farmers and ranchers for the purpose of analyzing problems and creating action or solutions.
- Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service: Part of the USDA that works to advance knowledge in various ag-related industries, such as animal products and food and nutrition.
- CAST: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology: Group dedicated to interpreting and communicating agricultural and science related information to the government, interested groups, media and public.
- Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations: This UN group works to end hunger, with one issue focusing on modernizing and transitioning agricultural practices in rural and developing areas.