Agricultural Equipment Technicians
Education and Training Requirements
You should take as many mathematics, technical/shop, and mechanical drawing classes as you can. Take science classes, including courses in earth science, to gain some insight into agriculture, soil conservation, and the environment. Computer science classes are also excellent preparation for this career, as computer use is becoming more widespread in all agricultural fields. Look into adult education programs available to high school students; in such a program, you may be able to enroll in pre-engineering courses.
A high school diploma is necessary, and some college and specialized experience is also important. A four-year education, along with some continuing education courses, can be very helpful in pursuing work, particularly if you're seeking jobs with the government.
Postsecondary education for the agricultural equipment technician should include courses in general agriculture, agricultural power and equipment, practical engineering, hydraulics, agricultural-equipment business methods, electrical equipment, engineering, social science, economics, and sales techniques. On-the-job experience during the summer is invaluable and frequently is included as part of the regular curriculum in these programs. Students are placed on farms, functioning as technicians-in-training. They also may work in farm equipment dealerships where their time is divided between the sales, parts, and service departments. Manufacturers of farm equipment may also provide training sessions specific to their equipment, covering topics such as diesel engines, transmissions, or electrical systems. Employers may send trainee technicians to such sessions, which generally last up to a week.
Occupational experience, one of the most important phases of the postsecondary training program, gives students an opportunity to discover which field best suits them and which phase of the business they prefer. Upon completion of this program, most technical and community colleges award an associate's degree.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification and Licensing
Some manufacturers provide certification for specific equipment or repair methods. Becoming certified is a great way to demonstrate your skill (and stand out in the job market) and earn higher pay.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Agricultural equipment repair students should obtain as much experience in the field as possible by participating in summer internships and part-time jobs.
The work of the agricultural equipment technician is similar to that of an engineer. You must have a knowledge of physical science and engineering principles and enough mathematical background to work with these principles. You must have a working knowledge of farm crops, machinery, and all agriculture-related products. You should be detail oriented. You should also have people skills, as you'll be working closely with professionals, other technicians, and farmers.