Agricultural engineer

land-based engineer agricultural adviser
Animals, land and environment

Career outlook for agricultural engineer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would assess the techniques used by farmers and landowners and explain how they can improve their land.

You'd plan and supervise construction projects to tackle environmental problems.

You'd work with specialist machinery used in farming, forestry and horticulture. For example, you might design the all-terrain vehicles which can move over uneven ground in different weather conditions.

You'd also help farmers, landowners and government departments understand issues such as crop diversity, sustainable land use and adapting to climate change.

You would:

  • Assess the environmental impact of intensive agricultural production methods
  • Supervise land drainage, reclamation and irrigation construction projects
  • Solve agricultural engineering problems
  • Test and install new equipment, such as harvesters, crop sprayers, storage facilities and logging machinery
  • Analyse weather and GPS data, then use computer modelling to advise farmers and businesses how to improve their land use

Depending on the size of the company you work for, you might also manage and coordinate sales, or do marketing and technical support. It would be important to be willing to work flexibly.

You would need to keep up to date with new developments in technology and production methods.

Working conditions


You would normally work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, though when you're out and about your working hours may be longer, depending on the job.


You could be based in a laboratory, workshop or office for design and research work. Site work would be in all weather conditions, on farms or construction projects.


You may have to travel, possibly overseas, depending on your role.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Adaptability
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Evaluating
  • Problem solving
  • Working with numbers
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would need a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) and/or degree (SCQF level 9/10) or a work-based qualification such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Land-based engineering (SVQ level 2/3).

There are no Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) recognised Agricultural Engineering Degrees in Scotland but other mechanical and engineering degrees are acceptable.

Agricultural, and Rural Skills courses are available at Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8): the minimum entry requirements are CC Highers.

For a degree (SCQF level 9/10), the minimum entry is BBCC Highers.


Useful subjects

  • Maths
  • Science subjects
  • Engineering science
  • Practical electronics
  • Design technologies
  • Geography

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show an understanding of the industry such as Engineering Skills (SCQF level 4).

Once in work or qualified, membership of Institution of Agricultural Engineers (IAgrE) can be helpful.  

You can also register with the Engineering Council as a professional engineer – either Incorporated Engineer (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng).