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Career and Education Opportunities for Agricultural Engineers in Madison, Wisconsin

For those living in the Madison, Wisconsin area, there are many career and education opportunities for agricultural engineers. About 110 people are currently employed as agricultural engineers in Wisconsin. By 2016, this is expected to grow 9% to about 120 people employed. This is not quite as good as the national trend for agricultural engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.1% over the next eight years. Agricultural engineers generally apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.

A person working as an agricultural engineer can expect to earn about $33 hourly or $69,130 yearly on average in Wisconsin and about $33 per hour or $68,730 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Agricultural engineers earn less than people working in the category of Engineering generally in Wisconsin and less than people in the Engineering category nationally. Agricultural engineers work in a variety of jobs, including: design engineer, landscape irrigation science professor, and agricultural safety and health program director.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Madison area, including one within twenty-five miles of Madison where you can get a degree to start your career as an agricultural engineer. Given that the most common education level for agricultural engineers is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be an agricultural engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Agricultural Engineer

Agricultural Engineer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, agricultural engineers apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.

Agricultural engineers meet with clients such as district or regional councils, farmers, and developers, to consider their needs. They also furnish advice on water quality and issues pertaining to pollution management and ground and surface water resources. Equally important, agricultural engineers have to conduct educational programs that furnish farmers or farm cooperative members with data that can help them improve agricultural productivity. They are often called upon to ready reports and budgets for proposed sites or systems. They are expected to layout sensing and recording devices, and other instrumentation used to study plant or animal life. Finally, agricultural engineers layout and supervise environmental and land reclamation projects in agriculture and related industries.

Every day, agricultural engineers are expected to be able to think through problems and come up with general rules. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they piece together evidence to, in some sense, diagnose what is going on in a situation.

Agricultural engineers sometimes are asked to layout agricultural machinery components and equipment using computer-aided layout (CAD) technology. They also have to be able to layout structures for crop storage, animal shelter and loading, and animal and crop processing, and supervise their construction and visit sites to monitor environmental problems, to confer with contractors, or to track construction efforts. And finally, they sometimes have to test agricultural machinery and apparatus to insure adequate performance.

Like many other jobs, agricultural engineers must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Madison include:

  • Biomedical Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
  • Chemical Engineer. Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Computer Engineer. Research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Fire Prevention Research Engineer. Research causes of fires, determine fire protection methods, and design or recommend materials or equipment such as structural components or fire-detection equipment to assist organizations in safeguarding life and property against fire, explosion, and related hazards.
  • Health, Safety, and Environment Manager. Plan, implement, and coordinate safety programs, requiring application of engineering principles and technology, to prevent or correct unsafe environmental working conditions.
  • Industrial Engineer. Design, develop, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Landscape Architect. Plan and design land areas for such projects as parks and other recreational facilities, airports, and commercial, industrial, and residential sites.
  • Manufacturing Engineer. Apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.
  • Materials Engineer. Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.
  • Nuclear Engineer. Conduct research on nuclear engineering problems or apply principles and theory of nuclear science to problems concerned with release, control, and utilization of nuclear energy and nuclear waste disposal.
  • Product Safety Engineer. Develop and conduct tests to evaluate product safety levels and recommend measures to reduce or eliminate hazards.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Agricultural Engineer Training

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Madison, WI

University of Wisconsin-Madison, 500 Lincoln Dr, Madison, WI 53706-1380. University of Wisconsin-Madison is a large university located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 41,581 students and an admission rate of 63%. University of Wisconsin-Madison has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Agricultural/Biological Engineering and Bioengineering which graduated eleven and three students respectively in 2008.


Accredited Agricultural Consultant: The Accredited Agricultural Consultant (AAC) designation was developed and first offered by the ASFMRA in 1997.

For more information, see the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers website.


Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin photo by Dori

Madison is situated in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 231,916, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Madison, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Madison are valued at $243,800 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Madison, down from three hundred seventy-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Madison are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 48.2% of Madison residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 20.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Madison is 5.2%, which is less than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Madison residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Gates of Heaven Synagogue, Abundant Life Church and Grace Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in Madison. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Madison is home to the Allen Centennial Gardens and the Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain as well as Bordner Park and Brigham Park. Shopping centers in the area include Brookwood Village Shopping Center, Whitney Square Shopping Center and Walnut Grove Shopping Center. Visitors to Madison can choose from Comfort Inn Madison, Howard Johnson-Plaza Hotel and Country Inn Sts Madison for temporary stays in the area.