Agri Science

If you want to be involved in the agriculutre industry but you're not so keen to work on-farm, there are many different Agri-science career paths that you could take.

Animal Health

People working in the Animal Health area treat sick and injured animals, provide general animal care, and advise clients about health care and disease prevention for pets and farm (production) animals. They also set standards for the import and export of animals and animal product and may even enter the research field.

Depending on the role they have, Animal Health workers may do any or all of the following and more: Work with clients to prevent and treat animal problems and diseases; advise on animal nutrition and the care and welfare of animals; examine dead animals to find out the cause of death; work with herd and flock owners to help them meet breeding and production goals; clean cages and surgery areas at a veterinary centre; feed and exercise animals; develop x-rays, collect blood samples and carry out pregnancy tests; help prepare animals for surgery.

Types of Jobs:

  • Veterinarian Nurse
  • Veterinarian Technician
  • Rural Veterinarian
  • Large Animal/Dairy Cattle Veterinarian

Is it for me?

If you love sciences such as biology and biochemistry and you enjoy working with and caring for animals (and you're not too squeamish!) then working in Animal Health could be for you.

How to get there:

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a veterinary nurse. However, science subjects, computing and English are useful. To become a vet you will need to take English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology are preferred subjects.

To become a vet nurse you will generally need to have a Certificate or Diploma in Veterinary Nursing or a qualification in animal care. In order to become a Veterinarian Technician or a Veterinarian you will need to attend Massey University and complete a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology or a Bachelor of Veterinarian Science.

Hours:

Animal Health workers in clinical practices often work long and irregular hours and are frequently on call. They may also work weekends and evenings.

Chance of employment:

Chances of getting a job as a vet nurse are average as there is a good supply of trained veterinary nurses. Chances of getting a job as a vet however are pretty good as there is a shortage of people in the role - especially in rural areas.

Pay:

Veterinarians earn an average of $75,000 a year but this will depend greatly on experience, responsibility and location. Vet Nurses will earn anywhere between $31,000 to over $50,000 a year, depending on experience.

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Agricultural Science

People working in Agricultural Science study farm animals, soils, pastures and crops to improve their yield, health and quality, and to prevent pests and disease. Scientists tend to be creative and strategic and think about the big picture. They think up new ideas for experiments and apply for funding to various places so the research can go ahead. A research technician works with and assists scientists to undertake research.

Research Scientists may do some or all of the following and more: find ways to improve the value or quality of animal or crop production; develop farming methods to protect animal welfare and the environment; run experiments and analyse the results; write about their work for scientific and farming magazines; manage research budgets; present reports at conferences; apply for funding grants.

Types of Jobs:

  • Agricultural Research Technician
  • Agricultural Research Scientist

Is it for me?

The agricultural science field would suit someone who is interested in sciences such as biology and chemistry along with agriculture and maths.

How to get there:

The following school subjects are preferable if you're looking at getting a job in the Agricultural Science sector: agriculture, biology, chemistry, maths, computer studies and English.

The minimum requirement to working in agricultural science is a Bachelor's degree, to become a Research Scientist you will generally need a Masters or PhD in a science area such as agricultural science, microbiology or biochemistry.

Hours:

In this field you will generally work regular hours (around 40 per week). They may occasionally have to work weekends if they are in the middle of trial work.

Pay:

Depending on experience and qualifications, you could earn anywhere between $35,000 to $100,000.

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Environmental

People working in the environmental sector carry out tests, plan systems and monitor performance of systems to ensure minimal inpact on the environment.

Types of Jobs:

  • Environmental Officer
  • Resource Management Consultant

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Food Technicians

Food Technologists research new food and beverage products, and develop ways to produce and improve the quality of these products. They may also develop or improve the processing, packaging, storage and safety of food in accordance with government and industry standards.

A food technologist may do some or all of the following: improve or develop new food and drinks; make test samples of food products and conduct trials; ensure food products meet specifications and standards (quality assurance); source and select ingredients for food products.

Is it for me?

If you enjoy sciences like biology and chemistry along with maths; working as a food technician could be a good career path.

How to get there:

You will need to study calculus and chemistry to NCEA Level 3 and you may also need statistics, physics, technology or biology.

You will probably need a Bachelor's degree in food science or technology or another related science degree.

Hours:

A Food Technologist will generally work from 9am to 5pm

Chance of employment:

Chances of getting a job as a food technologist are good due to a shortage of people in the role.

Pay:

As a graduate you may earn around $40,000 - $45,000 a year. A senior Food Technologist may earn up to $85,000.

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Agronomist

An Agronomist is a scientist who carries out tests and applies solutions or preventative measures to increase crop production and mantain top quality soils.

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