Is an Agriculture Degree a Good Value?


Key Takeaways:

  • Agricultural science and engineering fields are growing, with some areas expanding more rapidly due to increasing demands for high-quality food products.
  • Despite lower growth rates, agriculture has a low unemployment rate and a promising job market due to fewer graduates than available jobs.
  • Graduates can pursue diverse roles in organic food production, crop management, and more, although cost and regional demand should be considered.

If you are interested in studying agricultural sciences, you may be wondering just how much value there is an agriculture degree. The debate between economists, educators, and other experts in the job market as to whether or not there really is value in majoring in agriculture is on-going. To really weight value and determine if you will earn a real return on your investment following graduation, you need to consider not only job outlook and data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but also the supply of graduates along with types of careers you can pursue out of school. Read this guide, and learn just where to place the value in a degree majoring in agriculture.

What is the Job Outlook?

One of the first resources that you will use when you really want to know if finding a job fresh out of school will be the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. You cannot just assume that one summary will describe all jobs within the field, but comparing a few will give you a good idea as to outlook and projected growth. According to the data collected by the BLS, demand for agricultural scientists is expected to grow by 9% and agricultural engineers is projected to grow by 5%. There are areas within the field, however, that will grow more quickly as the demand for safe and quality crops, dairy and livestock grows.

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What is the Unemployment Rate?

Since growth is much lower than the national average in all occupational areas, it may be surprising to learn that the unemployment rate in agriculture, forestry and fishing is actually much lower than the national average. According to the workforce statistics, the rate of unemployment is down and is reported to be 7.6%.

Another interesting fact is that there will only be 53,500 graduates in the discipline and there will be more than 54,400 jobs available. Since the supply of graduates is less than the number of jobs available, it is promising that recent graduates can find work quickly out of school even though the number of jobs being created may not extraordinarily high. It is very important that you consider how much you value job security and quick job placement to place some value on this factor.

What Are Your Career Prospects with a Degree Majoring in Agriculture?

The areas of opportunity with this degree are plentiful. You may be able to work in organic food production, horiculture, crop production, agricultural management. Some of the vast number of titles include: plant geneticist, event planning, landscape design, green consultant, irrigation system manager, project administrator, food processing engineer, air quality specialist, conservation specialist, floral design, greenhouse production and more.

Like most degrees, it can cost you a pretty penny to simply graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture. To be sure that this is a field that you would like to work in, be sure to compare the demand throughout the nation to see if you would like to live in a region that is hiring. Once you do this, compare the costs of the degree to the salary average in the occupation you want to pursue. Once you can see the big picture, you can place value on the agriculture degree on your own.