Agricultural engineering provides many career opportunities in research institutes, private firms and NGOs. They can also opt for teaching and framing by their own.

Careers in Agricultural Engineering

Agriculture is the most important sector in the Indian economy which contributes around 23% to the Gross Domestic products and more than 70% of the total work force is employed in this sector. Almost all rural India is dependent on agriculture and allied activities like animal husbandry, diary, poultry and fisheries. Being primarily an agricultural country the growth and development of Indian economy particularly depend upon steady growth of agriculture and other allied activities.

The task of an agricultural engineer is to improve agricultural production by means of better engineering methods, inventions, technology and equipment which also require a good intellect and a desire to make a difference to the future of farming. Improvement in agricultural farm machinery, farm structures, rural electrification, bio-gas, new technologies in the design and manufacture of agricultural products and also conservation of soil and water are some of the jobs handled by an agricultural engineer.

Course Details
The basic eligibility criteria for a candidate aspiring to do a BE in Agricultural Engineering is 10+2, with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and preferably Biology. To become a qualified Agricultural Engineer one must have a graduate degree (B.E / B.Tech) or at least a diploma in Agricultural Engineering. BE / B.Tech Agriculture courses are of 4 years' duration while the diploma courses are of 2-3 years' duration.

Selection to all Agricultural Engineering courses is on the basis of joint entrance exam (JEE) for the IIT's and separate state level and national level exams for other institutions. After completion of BE/B.Tech one can pursue M.Tech in Agriculture which includes study like crop process engineering, firm machinery and power, soil and water conservation etc. A Ph.D. degree of three years is also offered at IIT kharagpur, and Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi.

Career Prospects
Agricultural Engineers have bright career prospects. Upon graduating or post-graduating in Agriculture and allied sciences, the options and opportunities of a career are many. State Department of Agriculture recruits Agricultural Engineers as agricultural officers for the development of agriculture in a district. There are also private firms investing money in medicinal crops and plantation crops who generally recruit agricultural engineers.

Some agricultural engineers can look towards NGOs working in rural areas. Those interested in research activities can join IARI as junior fellow researcher and become agricultural scientists. Now banks giving advance credit and loans to agriculture and agri-based projects are also employing agriculture experts for evaluation of crops. Teaching agriculture and allied subjects is also an option available to these students. Moreover some down to earth agricultural engineer can also engage them in innovative farming.

Top Colleges Offering UG/PG/Other Courses
There are many agriculture specific institutions in India that offer BE/B.Tech in agriculture like Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, Bapatla (Andhra Pradesh); Allahabad Agricultural Institute, Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) ;Kerala Agricultural University, Vellanikkara (Kerala), College Of Technology, Pantnagar (Uttar Pradesh).

Besides many Colleges Of Agricultural Engineering & Technology [Akola (Maharashtra), Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Bhubaneswar (Orissa), Hisar (Haryana),Tavanur (Kerala) and Junagarh (Gujarat)] are also offering B.Tech and M.Tech courses in Agriculture. Besides these there are many Agricultural Engineering Collages specialised in Agriculture Engineering located in Jabalpur, Ludhiana, Parbhani (Maharashtra), Raichur and Samastipur.

The basic pay scale in government institutions for agricultural engineer is Rs 10000 to Rs 20000 depending upon seniority. Agricultural engineers in private sector may get better salary form Rs 20000 to Rs 35000. Those who are working with NGOs are also earning good amount. Besides those who opt to open their own farm is also earning good returns depending upon the size of farm and crops grown.

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