In this article:
What is an Agricultural Mechanics Degree?
Agricultural mechanics – also referred to as agricultural equipment technicians or farm equipment mechanics – maintain, inspect, diagnose, repair, and overhaul machinery used in the farming industry. The degree program, naturally, is focused on agricultural power and mechanization.
The typical agricultural mechanics curriculum consists of classroom instruction and hands-on training in the areas of gasoline and diesel engines, clutches and transmissions, electrical systems and monitors, hydraulics, fuel systems, agriculture air conditioning units, computer monitoring equipment, and safety procedures.
Note: It is important to select an agricultural mechanics training program that is accredited by one of the regional institutional accreditors recognized by the US Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education (CHEA).
Certificate in Agricultural Mechanics – Six Month to One Year Duration
Certificate programs teach only subjects in the major. They are focused exclusively on the various aspects of the agricultural mechanic’s job. A work experience is a component of most of these programs. With a certificate in agricultural mechanics, graduates qualify for most entry-level roles.
Associate Degree in Agricultural Mechanics – Two Year Duration
Associate programs typically combine courses in the major with general education classes in subjects such as English composition, math, finance, economics, the biological sciences, and the social sciences. These two-year programs also provide more extensive field study and supervised learning experiences, often through internship / apprenticeship partnerships.
Despite the differences described above, agricultural mechanics courses like the following are at the heart of both of these programs:
- Introduction to Agriculture Power – operation of diesel, gasoline, and LPG engines; multi-cylinder engine design; disassembling, measuring, evaluating, and reassembling the engine
- Hay and Seeding Systems – fundamentals of operating, adjusting, and reconditioning new and used harvesting, tillage, planting, spraying, and other agriculture equipment
- Power Unit Systems – fundamentals of operating, troubleshooting, and servicing agriculture equipment and electrical systems; charging systems, starter systems, electro hydraulics, lights, and accessories
- Agriculture Air Conditioning – inspecting, diagnosing, adjusting, troubleshooting, and servicing mobile agriculture air conditioning units
- Combine Operation and Repair –operation and adjustment of farm combines with emphasis on conventional and rotary machines; adjusting and checking field losses of a combine in actual field operating conditions; repairing combines and making them field ready in the shop
- Transverse and Axial Combines – advanced repair techniques for transverse and axial combines
- Agriculture Diesel Electricity – fundamentals of DC electricity, measurement of electrons, electronic components theory and design, electrical safety, storage batteries, and test instrument operation used on agricultural equipment
- Wheeled Tractor Systems – introduction to the wheeled tractor systems including power shift transmissions, hydraulic systems, and electrical systems
- Agriculture Power Units – principles of hydraulics, hydraulic components, and the application of hydraulics to agriculture equipment; troubleshooting and servicing hydraulic systems
- Complete Tractor Overhaul – diesel fuel system components and diagnosis; injectors and fuel injection pumps; power transmission fundamentals including the theory of gear transmissions, hydraulic assist transmissions, hydrostatic transmissions, final drives, and clutches
- Agriculture Hydraulic Systems Diagnosis – complex hydraulic and electro-hydraulic systems of tractors and combines, testing open-center and variable pressure/variable flow hydraulic systems using the hydraulic flow meter and pressure gauges
- Advanced Wheeled Tractor Systems – inspecting, diagnosing, adjusting, troubleshooting, and servicing wheeled tractors
- Dealership Operations and Procedures – the structure of agricultural equipment dealerships
Degrees Similar to Agricultural Mechanics
Degree programs in this discipline teach students about one or more aspects of general agriculture. Coursework may cover topics like farm management, crop science, animal husbandry, agriculture technology, soil science, and food distribution.
Aircraft Maintenance Technology
Aircraft mechanics and technicians keep airplanes in safe operating condition. Degree programs in aircraft maintenance technology teach students how to inspect, maintain, and repair aircraft. The typical curriculum covers both the airframe (structural) and power plant (engine) components of aircraft. Students learn about aircraft metal structures, fuel systems, electronics, hydraulics and propulsion systems, landing gear systems, and maintenance and inspection regulations.
Automotive mechanics training programs prepare students to work in the servicing and maintenance of cars. Coursework covers preventative maintenance, brake systems, suspension systems, steering systems, wheel alignment, drive lines and axles, and electrical fundamentals.
This degree field prepares students to work as electricians – the tradespeople who install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring and systems, including heating, ventilation, air conditioning, security, lighting, and computer networks. Programs may cover all types of electrical work, while others may focus on one of the four principal classifications of the electrical trade: residential, commercial, industrial, low voltage.
Engineering technology programs teach the engineering skills required to assist engineers in their work. Common classes are computers for engineering technology, construction methodologies, structural systems, strength of materials, and technical drawing. Some of the subfields of engineering technology are civil engineering technology, construction engineering technology, aerospace engineering technology, and automotive engineering technology.
Heavy Equipment Operation
Heavy equipment operators drive equipment such as bulldozers, forklifts, and hydraulic truck cranes on construction sites. They work on residential, commercial, industrial, and civic infrastructure construction projects. Heavy equipment operator training programs provide students with the knowledge and skills required to safely operate, maintain, and conduct on-the-job adjustments to heavy equipment.
Machine Shop Technology
Machinists support manufacturing industries by making and modifying metal parts. Degree programs in machine shop technology teach students about the machining industry’s production methods, materials, and processes.
Students of mechanical engineering learn how to research, design, develop, and test mechanical and thermal devices, including tools, sensors, engines, and machines. These devices serve many industries, including the aerospace, automotive, medical, and energy sectors. In addition to coursework in engineering and design, degree programs in the field include classes in mathematics, life sciences, and physical sciences.
Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, Heating and Gas Technology
Students who pursue training in this technology learn how to install, maintain, and repair refrigeration, air conditioning, and heating and gas systems.
Degree programs in robotics technology prepare students to work with engineers who design robots and robotic systems that can perform duties that humans are either unable or prefer not to perform.
Welding students learn the process of joining metals using extreme heat. They study metallurgy, the properties of different types of metals, and different types of welding.
Skills You’ll Learn
Graduates with an agricultural mechanics degree gain this valuable set of transferable skills:
- Ability to adapt to working with new systems
- Ability to identify and solve technical and sometimes complex problems
- Ability to read and understand technical information, follow guidelines, and conduct technical inspections
- Ability to read gauges, dials, and other instruments
- Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
- Ability to work to deadlines
- Attention to detail
- Critical and analytical thinking
- Focus / concentration
- Hand/eye coordination and manual dexterity
- Physical strength
- Safety awareness
- Spatial perception
- Verbal and written communication
- Visualization skills
What Can You Do with an Agricultural Mechanics Degree?
Agricultural mechanics grads typically work as service and maintenance technicians at farm implement/equipment wholesalers and dealerships, at independent shops, and on farms. Larger operations may offer opportunities to specialize in a particular type of work, such as hydraulics or diesel engines. Options may also exist to specialize in a certain kind of farming equipment, such as tractors or combines.
Below are some common titles held by agricultural mechanics. Depending on the place of employment, roles and responsibilities may vary.
- Assembly Technician – agriculture equipment parts assembly
- Automation Technician – installation, maintenance, and operation of agriculture industry automated equipment
- Electronics Technician – wiring and maintenance of agriculture mechanical equipment
- Hydraulics Technician – installation, maintenance, and repair of hydraulic equipment and its components
- Maintenance/Service Technician – diagnosis and repair of problems with agriculture equipment, including diesel engines, gas engines, and transmissions
- Parts Manager – product parts inventory and warranty management
- Precision Agriculture Specialist – helping farmers with precision agriculture, which reduces the environmental impact of farming by using satellite technology to manage crops, fields, and livestock
- Dealer Service Representative – serves as the link between suppliers/manufacturers and distributors, helps dealers with product information, availability, pricing, and general service
- Sales Representative – for companies specializing in agricultural equipment, systems, and/or precision agriculture technologies
- Service Writer – documents and manages service records on agricultural equipment
Find out what graduates typically earn.Read about Salary