The Agricultural Mechanics program makes a positive difference in the lives of high school students grades 10 through 12 by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth, and career success in numerous areas of mechanics. These areas include but are not limited to small gasoline engines, plumbing, electrical, renewable natural resources, hydraulics, welding and more.
Those looking to work in the ag mechanic industry usually need to only have a high school diploma, but certifications and work experience are preferred for many positions. Below are descriptions and overviews of possible careers for ag mechanic graduates.
Agricultural engineers design and construct ag equipment and structures, ranging from tillers to storage facilities. Using engineering principles, these professionals assess technological needs in terms of farming requirements in order to create efficient machinery. For example, engineers may test varying power sources to find the most economical fuel for tractors or evaluate water conservation methods to design cost-effective sprinkler systems. Engineers may also be responsible for writing ag machinery guidelines or manuals.
Ag Machinery Salesperson
Ag machinery salespeople travel to see prospective customers in order to market agricultural equipment. Salespeople may also cold-call lists of potential clients in order to generate leads. Once salespeople find a customer, they may schedule a meeting or product demonstration in order to solicit a sale. Accordingly, these professionals are product savvy and keep abreast of technological changes in farm equipment. If a product is sold, salespersons may also train the farmer on equipment functions and troubleshooting.
Ag Mechanic Technician
Ag mechanic technicians service and repair farm equipment. These professionals generally work for maintenance companies and may travel in order to perform repair work on site. Entry-level technicians generally perform routine maintenance, such as changing air filters or annual service inspections. More experienced technicians may be responsible for servicing hydraulic, braking or electrical systems.
Nature of Work
Agricultural mechanics are responsible for fixing tractors, combines and other farming implements. Often, mechanics use specialized skills and experience to locate and diagnose the machine’s problem and then generate a cost-effective solution. In this endeavor, agricultural mechanics may use computer-aided systems to help troubleshoot and even repair the faulty part or parts. This position might include tasks ranging from working on an engine’s electrical system or carburetor to welding cracked pipefittings.
These types of mechanics are responsible for a variety of tasks associated with the repair and maintenance of farming equipment. Generally, agriculture mechanics use tools to diagnose and then fix problems in a machine’s systems. This step-by-step process may involve replacement of parts or upgrading of outdated components. In some instances, only a calibration or installation is required, such as equipping a chain to a chainsaw or calibrating a fertilizer dispensing system.
Training And Advancement
There are a few requirements for prospective agricultural mechanics entering the industry. Educationally, only a high school diploma is required for the majority of positions. Students should take physics, mathematics, and car repair courses while in high school to help facilitate transitioning into a job environment. Some high schools even offer cooperative education courses for gaining on-the-job experience.
A few positions that work with heavy machinery, such as tractors and combines, may require completion of a college program. These technical programs vary depending on what type of machine or component is involved. Automotive courses in diesel engine repair and heavy equipment systems are possible appropriate post-secondary paths for agricultural mechanics.
Some employers require a mechanic to have some repair experience under their belt before applying. Some high schools and technical colleges provide hands-on work experience for inexperienced students. In other instances, employers hire unskilled mechanics and make them work on menial tasks at first, then gradually move them into to more labor-intensive positions.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that agricultural engineers could expect as fast as the average increase in job opportunities – at 5% – between 2018 and 2028. Their median annual salary was $77,110 as of May 2018. Wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives, including those for technical and scientific products, can include agricultural machinery in their product lines. The BLS reported this group would see an increase of 2% from 2018-2028 and that they earned a median annual salary of $58,510 as of May 2018. Diesel service technicians and mechanics, which could include ag mechanic technicians, were predicted to see an increase of 5% from 2018 to 2028. Farm equipment mechanics earned a median annual salary of $40,630 per year as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov).
There are several career opportunities for individuals in the ag mechanic field. Some, such as an agricultural engineer, require a college degree. Others, such as sales representatives and mechanics, require only a high school diploma and required training.
Program of Study Framework / Classroom Resources
Ag Mechanics (SF)
Phone: (717) 294-3251 Ext: 258
It is the policy of Fulton County Area Vocational Technical School not to discriminate against any person, in any action or decision regarding activities or employment policies, on the basis of age, sex, color or by reason of any personal, physical or mental handicap.
Inquiries regarding compliance with Titles VI, IX and Section 504, should be forwarded to the Director of the Fulton County AVTS at:
145 East Cherry Street, McConnellsburg, PA 17233 (717) 485-5813