An educational background in agricultural science provides a solid foundation in basic farming principles and scientific knowledge. Students usually take a variety of science courses, such as biology and organic chemistry, as well as business courses like economics and communications. According to Degree Directory, most agricultural science careers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree.
For those who love both agricultural science and teaching, a career as a teacher may be ideal. As noted at "Degree Directory," some college degree programs offer an emphasis in education to agricultural science majors, which allows them to teach in a K-12 classroom setting. They may also choose to teach classes in the community and educate the public about the principles of farming.
Animal Scientist Careers
According to the University of Connecticut Department of Animal Science, animal science is the largest component of agriculture in the United States. A background in agricultural science will prepare students for a job in animal science, particularly if they take courses that focus on this area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Animal scientists work to develop better, more efficient ways of producing and processing meat, poultry, eggs, and milk." Median annual wages as of May 2008 were $56,030.
Soil Scientist Careers
Soil scientists study the physical and chemical properties of soil to help farmers develop planting strategies. According to the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, many college agriculture programs offer specialized classes in soil science, which may be helpful to agricultural science students who aspire to a career in soil science. Soil scientists can also elect to be certified by the Soil Science Society of America, which may increase credibility and employment opportunities. Median annual wages as of May 2008 were $58,390.
Crop Scientist Career
Crop science is similar to soil science but with a focus on crop yield and production. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "...crop scientists not only help increase productivity, but also study ways to improve the nutritional value of crops and the quality of seed, often through biotechnology." A career in crop science requires familiarity with current technology and innovations. Crop scientists may elect to complete the American Society of Agronomy's certification program. As of May 2008, median annual salary was $58,390.
2016 Salary Information for Agricultural and Food Scientists
Agricultural and food scientists earned a median annual salary of $62,670 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, agricultural and food scientists earned a 25th percentile salary of $47,880, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $84,090, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 43,000 people were employed in the U.S. as agricultural and food scientists.