How do I Become an Agriculturist?

Terrie Brockmann

Most dictionaries define an agriculturalist as a person who works in the field of agriculture, but this ambiguous definition fails to communicate the depth of the occupation. Generally, a person from almost any field of science may become an agriculturist by spinning his or her major toward the field of agriculture. Agriculturalists use biology, chemistry, and other sciences to improve production processes and yields. There are many areas of agriculture in which a person can become an agriculturist, including farming, forestry, and aquaculture.

A field of rice.
A field of rice.

There are dozens of jobs available to a person who wants to become an agriculturist. For example, an agriculturalist may be a farmer, an agricultural inspector, and an extension officer. Often an agriculturalist specializes in one area of agriculture. In the modern farming industry, there are many jobs available. Some of the more common areas of specialty include animal subjects, such as genetics, zoology, and wildlife management; crop matters, such as soil science, field and pasture sciences, and botany; and miscellaneous other subjects.

Agriculturists use research, data and science to improve production on farms.
Agriculturists use research, data and science to improve production on farms.

A person can become a scientific agriculturist by completing courses in any relevant science, including economics, biology, and engineering. Often people who like to work with animals or plants select agricultural jobs like farming or animal science. People who like to teach and work with the public often choose jobs such as agriculture teachers in schools, extension officers, and agricultural consultants. To become an agriculturist in the teaching profession, often a person needs a teaching certificate or degree, depending on the regional and local regulations.

One of the newest areas for agriculturalists is in the field of ecology. More countries and regions are passing regulations and laws governing agriculture. To become an agriculturist who specializes in environmental protection, most people study sciences, such as chemistry, wildlife management, and pasture science. Often environmental agriculturalists address the problems of agricultural run-off and groundwater contamination and rely on their education in the sciences to help them understand environmental problems. Typically, it is the agriculturalist's job to educate the farmers about the problems and advise them on solutions.

To become an agriculturist who advises and educates landowners, farm laborers, and aquaculture workers, a person needs strong people skills. Sometimes agriculturalists take supervisory courses to learn communication skills. Other communication courses that may help a person become an agriculturist include a speech course and a written communication course, such as technical writing.

Not all agriculturalists need a college degree because a few careers are experience-based. Many times farm workers can rise to the level of supervisory agriculturalist or agriculturalist technician. Usually, the job requirements depend on the employer and the scope of the job. Prospective agriculturalists may learn more about their chosen career requirements by searching the Internet for information. Knowing precisely which courses and degrees are required by employers might help a person better prepare to get an agriculturist job in his or her chosen field.

Animal inspector positions are great agriculture jobs for individuals who love working with animals.
Animal inspector positions are great agriculture jobs for individuals who love working with animals.

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