How much do agriculture majors make?
Agricultural majors are increasing in popularity and are in demand across the developed and developing world. There exists a range of career fields and salary expectations for those majoring in agriculture-related disciplines. According to a recent survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, graduates with a major in agriculture earned an average starting salary of $53,500 for 2019.
Agriculture majors have the opportunities to leverage their education into a wide range of positions within the industry. Specializing in areas such as soil science, animal nutrition, plant genetics, or food science may result in higher earnings. Graduates with a background in agricultural research can work as agricultural scientists, agricultural economists, or agricultural administrators, although salaries in these areas will vary based on experience and job market conditions.
Individuals with the right mindset, ambition and skills can make a reasonably good living in agricultural-related fields. Some of the highest paying jobs in the industry can be found at national or international research institutions. For those interested in lucrative jobs, the key is to have a strong mastery of their chosen field. Additionally, experience on a farm or ranch, a degree in agricultural business management, and/or a promotion up the agricultural industry ladder can lead to higher earnings.
Agriculture majors also have the potential to work in the public sector. Careers with government-funded agencies like the USDA, FDA, or state agricultural organizations are usually well-paid. Those wishing to become professors in an agricultural university may also earn an impressive salary once they complete their PhD.
The best way to increase one’s earning potential is to continuously educate oneself with the latest developments in their chosen field. Networking, internships, and research opportunities can also help graduates gain an advantage in the job market. Ultimately, the salary that an agricultural major can make is largely determined by the graduate’s skills, knowledge of the industry, and desire to excel.
Agriculture Majors Salaries in Research
When it comes to research-level positons, salaries for agricultural majors vary widely. The majority of agricultural research positions are found at universities and research institutes, and salaries in these areas are largely determined by the type of research conducted and the level of education possessed by the candidate. Highly experienced medical scientists, who have the requisite PhD or MD/PhD, and postdoctoral experience, are paid handsomely for their expertise and experience. For instance, the average salary in the U.S. for a medical scientist currently stands at $102,235 per year.
At universities, agricultural research scientists often receive competitive salaries. Salaries depend on the institution they work for, their position, and the field they are working in. That said, top-level agriculture majors at universities can expect wages in the range of $100,000 – $140,000. Professors of agriculture who are expereinced and skilled in their field, may expect wages in the six-figure range, depending on their research speciality.
Agricultural majors that have a strong interest in research have the option to pursue a PhD in a specialist field. While this may take several years, a PhD can open up a slew of opportunities and job offers. With a PhD, graduates can work as independent research scientists, research and development experts within private entities, or as lecturers and professors of various agricultural topics.
In addition to salary expectations, the research sector in agriculture offers a unique array of advantanges such as travel perks, flexible work schedules, and the satisfaction of discovering new solutions to pressing global challenges.
Agriculture Majors Salaries in Business
Agricultural majors also have the option of working in the business side of the industry. While salaries may not be as high as in research, wages can be very promising depending on the type of industry and employer. For instance the U.S. Department of Agriculture has an annual salary range of $60,274 to $138,136 in Office of the Chief Economist (OCE).
Agricultural majors that specialize in agriculture business management may work as farm managers, consulting advisors, agriculture company managers, agricultural analysts, and marketing specialists. Salaries in these positions depend on a variety of factors, such as job experience, education, and the size of the employing organization.
Individuals with a degree in agricultural business can also leverage their knowledge and experience in a variety of roles within the public and private sector. Depending on the job and the level of expereince, agricultural business majors can expect wages in the range of $50,000 to $120,000.
In the private sector, agriculture majors have the option to start their own agriculture-related business. While wages here may vary significantly, most successful entrepreneurs make a comfortable living off their venture. The key is to decide on a viable business plan, identify prospective customers, and filter out competitive business in the same sector.
Overall, agricultural majors can make a good living in the business sector, depending on their skills and the sector they choose to work in. In addition to salaries, those with a knack for business may find the flexible work hours and potential to be their own boss, very rewarding.
Agriculture Majors Salaries in Education
Agriculture majors also have the opportunity to work in the realm of education and academia. Those with an agricultural degree can pursue a teaching career at public universities, colleges, and private schools. Salaries in this sector depend a great deal on experience and the institution worked for.
Professors of agriculture usually have the same expectations in terms of skill and experience as those with other university-level positions. That said, agronomy professors in the United States earned an average salary of $99,417 in 2019. At the high end, agriculture professors at the nation’s top universities may expect wages of up to $125,000.
Those without a doctoral degree have other opportunities in the education sector. Individuals majoring in agriculture can become a research assistant, work at an agricultural extension program, or become assistant professors (without a doctoral degree). Salaries in these positions depend on a range of factors and can range from $50,000 to $70,000.
Agriculture majors with an interest in teaching and research may also have the chance to become postdoctoral fellows, making an average of $80,000 per year. As with other agricultural positions, great opportunities await those who pursue a doctoral degree and complete training through fellowships and internships.
Educators in the realm of agriculture are in high demand, and those with the requisite education, degree and experience can command competitive salaries and benefits. The most desired positions will likely be at highly prestigious universities or research institutions.
Agriculture Majors Salaries in Industry
In the private sector, salaries for agricultural majors depend on the industry they enter and the qualifications they possess. For instance, agronomists working in the agricultural chemicals industries earned an average of $130,000 in 2019. At the higher end, professional agronomists in the biotechnology and crop protection industry can expect salaries in the six-figure range.
Agriculture majors have the option to work as technical sales representatives within the agricultural products and services industry. Those with a background in biotechnology may specialize in seed sales, and have the potential to earn wages between $50,000 to $80,000. Other areas of expertise include fertilizer sales, equipment sales, and agriculture market analysis.
Graduates interested in a career in the food industry may find success working as food production managers and agricultural analysts. Salaries in these areas may vary depending on the skills possessed, and the size of the organization. Agribusiness experts in this sector may expect wages in the range of $120,000 to $150,000.
Agricultural majors also have the potential to enter the financial sector as researchers, agricultural investment bankers and portfolio managers. Salaries in these areas depend on the qualifications of the individual, and the type of investment firm they work for. Top-level positions within the financial services industry can command wages upwards of $200,000.
Overall, the earning potential of agriculture majors depend on the type of position they pursue and the area of specialization. Opportunities for growth and advancement are available for those with the right qualifications, and ambition to excel.