Individuals entering the Power, Structural and Technical Systems career pathway usually enjoy working with equipment and all things technical. Career professionals in this field apply knowledge of engineering, hydraulics, pneumatics, electronics, power, structures and controls to the field of agriculture. They design agricultural structures as well as machinery and equipment. They develop ways to conserve soil and water and improve the processing of agricultural products.
Employment of individuals in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway is expected to grow about the same as the average for all occupations through 2012. However, opportunities for agricultural engineers are expected to increase. Increasing demand for agricultural products, continued efforts for more efficient agricultural production and increasing emphasis on the conserving of resources should result in good job opportunities in the coming years.
Jobs in the Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway can include:
• Agricultural engineer
• Diesel technician
• GIS specialist
• Land surveyor
• Farm equipment technician
This field has a wide range of educational opportunities, which makes it especially appealing to many students. Degrees for some of the more scientific-based careers range from an associate degree to a Ph.D. Other jobs require technical school training, resulting in certifications like certified welding machine operator or certified machinist.
For some positions, initial and continuing on-the-job training is provided. Apprenticeship programs are also popular within these careers, which give an opportunity for on-the-job training but under the watchful eye of a longtime, certified professional.
High school career and technical education courses have proven to help many students determine if this pathway is their chosen career. Many career professionals credit their high school agricultural education or shop classes as the start to their Power, Structural and Technical Systems career. Enroll in these courses to gain hands-on experience and knowledge of the industry.
The FFA agricultural mechanics career development event can also provide hands-on experience. Other career preparation experience can come through job shadowing current career professionals, or by pursuing an FFA supervised agricultural experience program that may include working for an auto mechanic, construction company, farmer or engineering company.