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Career and Education Opportunities for Agricultural Technicians in Columbia, Maryland

Agricultural technicians can find many career and educational opportunities in the Columbia, Maryland area. About 400 people are currently employed as agricultural technicians in Maryland. By 2016, this is expected to grow 14% to about 450 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for agricultural technicians are expected to grow by about 8.8%. In general, agricultural technicians set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals.

A person working as an agricultural technician can expect to earn about $20 hourly or $41,840 per year on average in Maryland and about $16 per hour or $33,990 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Agricultural technicians earn less than people working in the category of Life Science Technical generally in Maryland and less than people in the Life Science Technical category nationally. Jobs in this field include: plant control aide, agricultural research technician, and seed expert.

There are 109 schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as an agricultural technician. The most common level of education for agricultural technicians is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become an agricultural technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Agricultural Technician

In general, agricultural technicians set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. They also prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.

Every day, agricultural technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for agricultural technicians to record data pertaining to experimentation and animal care. They are often called upon to ready data summaries and analyses that include results and graphs to document research findings and results. They also collect samples from crops or animals so testing can be performed. They are sometimes expected to adjust testing equipment, and ready culture media, following standard procedures. Somewhat less frequently, agricultural technicians are also expected to transplant trees or horticultural plants.

Agricultural technicians sometimes are asked to measure and mark plot areas, and plow, disc and otherwise ready land for cultivated crops, orchards and vineyards. They also have to be able to furnish routine animal care such as taking and recording body measurements and assisting in the birthing process and conduct insect and plant disease surveys. And finally, they sometimes have to examine animals and specimens to establish the presence of diseases or other problems.

Like many other jobs, agricultural technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Columbia include:

  • Biological Sciences Technician. Assist biological and medical scientists in laboratories. Set up, operate, and maintain laboratory instruments and equipment, monitor experiments, and calculate and record results. May analyze organic substances, such as blood, food, and drugs.
  • Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Forensic Investigator. Collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, or biochemistry.
  • Forestry and Wildlife Manager. Compile data pertaining to size, content, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Agricultural Technician Training

University of Maryland-College Park - College Park, MD

University of Maryland-College Park, , College Park, MD 20742. University of Maryland-College Park is a large university located in College Park, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 37,000 students and an admission rate of 39%. University of Maryland-College Park has 2 areas of study related to Agricultural Technician. They are:

  • Animal Sciences, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated forty-two, two, and eight students respectively in 2008.
  • Food Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated seven, two, and one students respectively in 2008.


Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.