Career summary

Details for Agricultural Technicians


Description

Set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.

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.
  • Set up laboratory or field equipment as required for site testing.
  • Prepare laboratory samples for analysis, following proper protocols to ensure that they will be stored, prepared, and disposed of efficiently and effectively.
  • Examine animals or crop specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems.
  • Collect animal or crop samples.
  • 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.
  • Respond to general inquiries or requests from the public.
  • Perform crop production duties, such as tilling, hoeing, pruning, weeding, or harvesting crops.
  • Record environmental data from field samples of soil, air, water, or pests to monitor the effectiveness of integrated pest management (IPM) practices.
  • 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 tests on seeds to evaluate seed viability.
  • Perform general nursery duties, such as propagating standard varieties of plant materials, collecting and germinating seeds, maintaining cuttings of plants, or controlling environmental conditions.
  • Devise cultural methods or environmental controls for plants for which guidelines are sketchy or nonexistent.
  • Prepare culture media, following standard procedures.
  • Transplant trees, vegetables, or horticultural plants.
  • Prepare or present agricultural demonstrations.
  • Determine the germination rates of seeds planted in specified areas.
  • 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.

Interests

  • Realistic - 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 - 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 - 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.

Education, training, experience

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

Knowledge

  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • Administration and Management - 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Chemistry - 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.
  • Clerical - 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.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Geography - 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Related careers

  • Animal Breeders
  • Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
  • Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists