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Agricultural Business Degree and Career Information
Learn about undergraduate and graduate degree programs in agricultural business and the careers they might result in. Continue reading to review educational prerequisites for these programs, and explore the employment outlook statistics.
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Agricultural business programs teach students how to manage farms, nurseries and ranches. Associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in the field. Curricula are made up of courses such as agricultural science, farm finance, animal science and international trade policies. Some programs may include online-study components as well as internship and thesis requirements. Students who complete these programs may be prepared to take on the role of rancher or farm manager, or to pursue sales and management positions with agricultural corporations, supply firms or government agencies.
Associate's Degree in Agricultural Business
Students in associate's degree programs in agricultural business develop marketing, management, agricultural systems and problem-solving skills. These programs take about two years to complete. Classes include required credits in agribusiness, as well as liberal arts, science and general elective courses. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, depending on the program.
Prerequisites for these programs usually include only include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Students in some programs may be required to maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) throughout their enrollment.
An agricultural business associate's degree program curriculum includes foundational classes in business, economics, marketing and management. Some typical specialized courses include:
Farm accounting and finance
Management and operations in agribusiness
Natural resource and agriculture economics
Managing agricultural enterprise
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
An associate's degree in agricultural business prepares students for entry-level positions in the field. Some graduates may find work as:
Farmers and assistants
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for farmers, ranchers and agricultural managers were predicted to decline 8% between 2010 and 2020. These workers earned median salaries of $69,300 as of May 2012, reports the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Earning a bachelor's degree can provide improved career opportunities in agricultural business. Many associate's degree programs are designed to allow students to transfer into a bachelor's degree program.
Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Business
Bachelor's degree programs are intended for students who want to build their knowledge of agribusiness marketing, management, economics and production. These programs use real-life agribusiness scenarios to help students learn the real-world applications of what they have learned. Graduates are awarded a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
There are no special prerequisites for entry; however, some programs require or encourage that students participate in an internship before graduation. To enroll in summer or part-time internships, students must prove admission to a degree program and complete two semesters of coursework.
Agricultural business baccalaureate degree programs include classes in English, history, science, political science, communications and fine arts, along with courses in the specialty. Some typical classes may include:
Accounting for agricultural business
Economics of agriculture (micro and macro)
Agricultural resource analysis
Agricultural law and policy
Popular Career Options
Bachelor's degree programs in agricultural business prepare students to work in sales, production or management positions, among others. Some possible career options for graduates include:
Continuing Education Information
A master's degree in agricultural business can help build experience in the field and education needed for advancement. Also, continued education helps professionals keep up with new technology and advancements in agricultural business and research.
Master's Degree in Agricultural Business
Agricultural business graduate degree programs provide students the opportunity to study advanced agribusiness topics that focus on research and analysis. These programs take from 1-3 years to complete including completion a thesis or technical report. Some programs combine on-campus studies with distance education. Graduates are normally awarded a Master of Agribusiness (MAB) degree.
Admission to a graduate degree program in agricultural business requires to students submit proof of a bachelor's degree. Some programs also require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores and previous professional experience in the industry. Other typical prerequisites include familiarity with computer technology, accounting methodologies, statistics and economics. Students may also need access to a personal computer that meets a school's technical requirements.
Classes in a master's degree programs in agricultural business focus on marketing, production, economics and management. Other topics studied may include international trade and development, political issues, research, analysis and entrepreneurial studies. Course topics typically include:
Agribusiness economics and risk management
Food system organization analysis
Agribusiness strategic management
Market research and analysis
International trade and policy in agribusiness
Futures, option and commodity market analysis
Popular Career Options
Master's degrees in agricultural business include a variety of advanced career opportunities in the field. Some graduates pursue positions in:
Continuing Education and Professional Certification Information
Ph.D. programs are also available in agricultural business for those who wish to earn a doctoral degree. Doctoral degree programs are designed to provide students with additional research opportunities. They also incorporate practical interaction with researchers and specialists associated with the agricultural business.
In addition, agricultural managers can obtain voluntary professional certification from by the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers (ASFMRA). The designation of Accredited Farm Manager (AFM) is available for those who meet specific experience and academic requirements and who pass the applicable courses and examinations.
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