Agricultural Technicians

Overview
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Experience

Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Education

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.

Job Training

Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Examples

These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.

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.

Demand
Career Demand by State Career Demand by State Legend
Core Tasks

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.

Perform crop production duties, such as tilling, hoeing, pruning, weeding, or harvesting crops.

Prepare laboratory samples for analysis, following proper protocols to ensure that they will be stored, prepared, and disposed of efficiently and effectively.

Set up laboratory or field equipment as required for site testing.

Examine animals or crop specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems.

Collect animal or crop samples.

Record environmental data from field samples of soil, air, water, or pests to monitor the effectiveness of integrated pest management (IPM) practices.

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.

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 general nursery duties, such as propagating standard varieties of plant materials, collecting and germinating seeds, maintaining cuttings of plants, or controlling environmental conditions.

Perform tests on seeds to evaluate seed viability.

Devise cultural methods or environmental controls for plants for which guidelines are sketchy or nonexistent.

Respond to general inquiries or requests from the public.

Prepare culture media, following standard procedures.

Determine the germination rates of seeds planted in specified areas.

Prepare or present agricultural demonstrations.

Transplant trees, vegetables, or horticultural plants.

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.

Technology Skills
Technology
Example
Hot Technology
Analytical or scientific software
Statistical software
Data base user interface and query software
Microsoft Access
Desktop publishing software
Desktop publishing software
Electronic mail software
Microsoft Outlook
Enterprise resource planning ERP software
SAP
Internet browser software
Web browser software
Office suite software
Microsoft Office
Operating system software
Microsoft operating system
Presentation software
Microsoft PowerPoint
Spreadsheet software
Microsoft Excel
Word processing software
Microsoft Word
Tools Used
Tool
Example
Agricultural and forestry and landscape machinery and equipment
Animal head-locks
Computer Equipment and Accessories
Personal digital assistants PDA
Construction and maintenance support equipment
Ladders
Hand tools
Power saws
Heavy construction machinery and equipment
Trenchers
Industrial pumps and compressors
Air compressors
Laboratory and scientific equipment
Reverse osmosis systems
Lamps and lightbulbs and lamp components
Infrared lamps
Material handling machinery and equipment
Grain augers
Measuring and observing and testing instruments
Compound binocular light microscopes
Medical sterilization products
Soil sterilizers
Motor vehicles
Agricultural tractors
Patient care and treatment products and supplies
Vaccination syringes
Veterinary equipment and supplies
Callicrate banding systems
Welding and soldering and brazing machinery and accessories and supplies
Metal inert gas MIG welders
Top 10 Knowledge Required
Mathematics
83%
Importance

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Biology
82%
Importance

Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Administration and Management
77%
Importance

Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Chemistry
77%
Importance

Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

English Language
73%
Importance

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Clerical
71%
Importance

Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Computers and Electronics
69%
Importance

Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Education and Training
69%
Importance

Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Geography
68%
Importance

Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.

Mechanical
66%
Importance

Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Top 10 Skills
Reading Comprehension
70%
Importance

Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening
65%
Importance

Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Complex Problem Solving
65%
Importance

Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Critical Thinking
65%
Importance

Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Writing
65%
Importance

Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Mathematics
63%
Importance

Using mathematics to solve problems.

Monitoring
63%
Importance

Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Active Learning
60%
Importance

Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Coordination
60%
Importance

Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Instructing
60%
Importance

Teaching others how to do something.

Top 10 Abilities
Near Vision
75%
Importance

The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

Written Comprehension
75%
Importance

The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Oral Comprehension
73%
Importance

The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Oral Expression
73%
Importance

The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

Problem Sensitivity
73%
Importance

The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

Written Expression
70%
Importance

The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Information Ordering
68%
Importance

The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

Category Flexibility
65%
Importance

The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.

Deductive Reasoning
65%
Importance

The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Inductive Reasoning
65%
Importance

The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Top 10 Work Activities
Documenting/Recording Information
90%
Importance

Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Getting Information
90%
Importance

Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
88%
Importance

Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
84%
Importance

Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Processing Information
83%
Importance

Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
81%
Importance

Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
79%
Importance

Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
79%
Importance

Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
77%
Importance

Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Analyzing Data or Information
76%
Importance

Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Detailed Work Activities

Research sustainable agricultural processes or practices.

Record research or operational data.

Measure ingredients.

Set up laboratory or field equipment.

Prepare biological samples for testing or analysis.

Examine characteristics or behavior of living organisms.

Collect biological specimens.

Manage agricultural or forestry operations.

Provide technical information or assistance to public.

Cultivate land.

Operate laboratory or field equipment.

Test quality of materials or finished products.

Prepare compounds or solutions for products or testing.

Research crop management methods.

Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.

Research diseases or parasites.

Care for plants or animals.

Operate farming equipment.

Develop sustainable industrial or development methods.

Maintain laboratory or technical equipment.

Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.

Supervise scientific or technical personnel.

Work Context
Face-to-Face Discussions

How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?

Importance of Being Exact or Accurate

How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?

Electronic Mail

How often do you use electronic mail in this job?

Contact With Others

How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?

Work With Work Group or Team

How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Indoors, Environmentally Controlled

How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?

Importance of Repeating Same Tasks

How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?

Responsible for Others' Health and Safety

How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?

Freedom to Make Decisions

How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?

Education
Majors
Major
Animal Sciences, General
Dairy Science
Poultry Science
Plant Sciences, General
Agronomy and Crop Science
Soil Science and Agronomy, General
Agriculture/Veterinary Preparatory Programs, Other
Biology/Biological Sciences, General
Interests
Realistic
91%
Importance

Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Investigative
72%
Importance

Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Conventional
62%
Importance

Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Enterprising
34%
Importance

Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Social
19%
Importance

Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

Artistic
15%
Importance

Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Top 10 Work Styles
Attention to Detail
98%
Importance

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity
98%
Importance

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Dependability
91%
Importance

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Analytical Thinking
88%
Importance

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Achievement/Effort
87%
Importance

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Concern for Others
87%
Importance

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Leadership
86%
Importance

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Adaptability/Flexibility
84%
Importance

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Independence
84%
Importance

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Initiative
84%
Importance

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Work Values
Relationships
72%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support
67%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence
48%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Working Conditions
48%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Achievement
43%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Recognition
39%
Importance

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.