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How to Become an Agricultural Mechanic

Jan 4, 2021 ·

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Farmers use a lot of different equipment on a regular basis, from vehicles that help with harvesting to instruments used for irrigation. All of these tools are necessary and need to be kept in good condition so tasks around the farm can be completed on time.

For those who love transportation, mechanics and agriculture, getting into ag mechanics as a career could make sense. An agricultural mechanic, also known as an agricultural technician, is someone who helps maintain and repair different kinds of equipment used in these industries. They provide necessary service that impacts the livelihoods of many people.

Training and experience working on different kinds of farming equipment is something important for those interested in pursuing a career in the industry.1 Those who love problem solving and working with their hands would be great fits.

If the role of an agricultural mechanic sounds intriguing to you, keep reading to find out more about what their responsibilities are and how you can take steps to become one!

What Is an Agricultural Technician?

Agricultural technicians repair and maintain various farming components. They test machine systems, troubleshoot problems when they arise and perform repairs on various types of equipment. By maintaining the machinery used by farmers, they help to keep productivity high.

While they possess many of the same skills as automotive or diesel mechanics, agricultural mechanics must have a specialized set of skills to work on the types of equipment commonly used on a farm. These may include: 

  • Tractors & their various attachments
  • Plows
  • Fertilizer spreaders
  • Harvesters
  • Seeders
  • Balers
  • Trailers

Agricultural Mechanic Job Duties

Having general knowledge of what an agricultural mechanic’s duties and responsibilities are can be helpful when considering it as a career. Farm equipment is used in a range of spaces, making these technicians necessary for different kinds of jobs. Some of their daily duties and tasks can include:

  • Testing electrical components and wiring
  • Driving trucks to haul tools and equipment
  • Reassembling machinery and testing operations
  • Checking for defective or worn components
  • Forging new metal parts
  • Installing irrigation and plumbing systems
  • Lubricating and cleaning parts
  • Repairing defective engines and related parts
  • Keeping a log of maintenance reports

Repairing and maintaining various diesel-powered farming components is the main job of an agricultural mechanic.

These are just a few of the tasks that an agricultural mechanic might handle during a day of work, though their specific duties can vary depending on the equipment they’re working on.

Agricultural Mechanic Salary and Job Outlook

Getting a sense of what the job outlook and salary range is for a career you’re thinking about pursuing is smart so you can prepare for your future.

Many people who enter the agricultural mechanics field start as entry-level automotive service technicians, mechanics or diesel technicians. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides useful information regarding the outlook and salary of these positions to give you an estimate.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for automotive service technicians and mechanics in the United States was $46,880 in May 2021.25 This means half of automotive technicians earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Diesel engines provide power to many of the vehicles used in agricultural work. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists was $48,690 in May 2021.29

How to Become an Agricultural Mechanic

Education and training are important for those wanting to pursue a career as a farm equipment mechanic. Having the knowledge and hands-on experience related to the different kinds of systems and instruments used in the industry is crucial before diving into the role.

Basic education in the form of a high school diploma or GED is required. Different certifications and trainings might be required depending on the specific sector of the industry.

Attending a trade school could be the best way to gain the experience needed to be ready to enter the workforce as an agricultural mechanic. Trade schools can build a foundation of knowledge and skills that can come in handy in the transportation and agricultural industry.

For example, the 45-week Diesel Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) will expose students to foundational courses designed to allow them to repair, replace, and diagnose issues with diesel technology and engines. Those graduating from the program would be prepared with the knowledge needed to fix combines, tractors and a range of other equipment used in the farming industry. They could work in field service and travel from place to place, or they might get employed by larger machinery wholesalers.

For those who want to take their training further and specialize in working on agricultural equipment, UTI also offers manufacturer-specific agricultural equipment technician training created in collaboration with AGCO Corporation, a major worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment.

The 12-week Fendt Technician Academy program, which is designed to be completed after completion of core diesel training, can prepare you to work on tractors from Fendt. You’ll gain in-depth knowledge about the brand’s engines, powertrains, hydraulics and electronics, which can give you a competitive advantage when applying for positions in the industry.15

Start on the Path to Becoming an Agricultural Mechanic

If pursuing a career as an agricultural mechanic sounds like the right fit for you, you can take the first step by getting hands-on training. You can apply to the Diesel Technology program at UTI to get started and, if you choose, you could continue your education and apply for the Fendt Technician Academy program.

To learn more, request information today. We’ll connect you with an Admissions Representative who can help you get started on your training! 

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.

15) Manufacturer-paid advanced training programs are conducted by UTI on behalf of manufacturers who determine acceptance criteria and conditions. These programs are not part of UTI’s accreditation. Programs available at select locations.

25) UTI’s Automotive Technology program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as automotive technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as an automotive technician, such as service writer, smog inspector, and parts associate. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics (49-3023) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $32,140 to $53,430 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageSpecificOccupations#). Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled automotive technicians in North Carolina is $19.04 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $14.34 and $12.94, respectively.

29) UTI’s Diesel Technology Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as diesel technicians. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI graduates. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary. UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as diesel truck technicians, including in industries such as heavy equipment repair, power generation, and agriculture. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists (49-3031) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $32,360 to $94,400 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageSpecificOccupations#). Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled diesel technicians in North Carolina is $22.89 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $18.59 and $17.03, respectively.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

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