How to Become an Agronomist?

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How to Become an Agronomist (1)

Agronomy is the science of plants and soil, that researches and innovates practices to boost crop production. To become an Agronomist students need to study Agronomy. A branch of Agriculture Science, it primarily focuses on scientific methods of soil management and crop production. An agronomist is a soil scientist who studies the relationship between the crop and plants that a farmer grows and the other environmental factors related to sustainable production. An agronomist helps to develop efficient farming and crop growth practices and technologies to boost crop yields, improve farm profitability and simultaneously protect the environment that allows farmers to maximize their crop production. Agronomists often conduct both on-field and off-field experiments on different plants to improve their longevity, durability and crop yield. In this blog, we will take you through the information you need to know on how to become an agronomist.

Profession Agronomist
Course Name  Agronomy
Course Level Undergraduate, Postgraduate
Minimum Qualification 10+2
Duration Variable
Average Salary India – INR 40,000 monthly
Abroad – $7000 (INR 5.54 lacs) monthly
Job Profile  Professor, Advisor, Consultant, Soil and Crop Expert, Agro-Scientist
Job Sector Agriculture Institute, Farm Land, Agri-Business Firms, Agriculture Labs

What Does an Agronomist Do?

An Agronomist is a specialist in different areas of agronomy such as soil science, plant genetics, sustainable agriculture and soil-related research and development. Most Agronomists or Soil Scientists have the below-mentioned responsibilities in their job profiles.

  • Conducting research and experiments to develop sustainable methods for crop yield improvement.
  • Monitoring water level effects and soil characteristics on plant growth.
  • Plant health analysis and soil testing process to determine the crop nutrient requirements. 
  • Formulate environment-friendly farm practices and experiments.
  • Examining crop health at regular intervals to eliminate the chances of diseases.
  • Collecting crop-related data and field feedback/observations to improve next-generation crops.
  • Preparing and educating farmers with modern and key crop health-related information to boost production. 

How to Become an Agronomist?

  • Step 1 – Complete Senior Secondary (10+2) 

To study Agronomy at UG level, a candidate first needs to pass higher secondary or 10+2 in the science stream with Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology as the main subjects. An additional Diploma course in Agriculture from any recognised academic institution would give an edge to the student.

  • Step 2 – Pursue UG course in Agronomy or Related Field 

After passing 10+2 the next step is to get a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, Agronomy or Agriculture Science. The most common course is Bachelor of Science in Agronomy.  It is a three-year undergraduate degree program. Admission to these BSc programs is usually conducted through an entrance examination. After successful completion of the degree course students can get the job as trainee Agronomist. Sometimes an internship in the related field is also required.

  • Step 3 – Pursue PG course in Agronomy or Related Field 

To enter in the research field and academics students prefer to pursue a Master of Science degree course in Agronomy or in a related field. Sometimes to get job growth professionals opt for the Master’s Degree in the field. It is usually a one to two years program.

  • Step 4 – Complete an Internship 

Internships are nowadays demanded by companies/firms and academic institutions while recruiting for the job for Agronomist. Students gain practical experience both on-field and off-field while doing internships. Internships can be paid or non paid. It can be done in both the government and private sector in the relevant field.

  • Step 5 – Get Certified 

Candidates need to pass the Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) certification program offered by the International Certificate Crop Advisory (ICCA) for career advancement and higher earning in their role as an Agronomist.

Skills Required to Become an Agronomist

  • Interest in Agriculture Science – An Agronomist needs to have an in-depth understanding of plants, seeds, soil, chemistry and biology so that the process of cultivation, harvesting and soil management can be understood easily. Furthermore, for creating genetically modified plants, Agronomy professionals require to have a thorough understanding of Agricultural Economics and Science.
  • Technological Skills – Modern world is technology-driven in every sector. The ability to operate, learn and use different agriculture software like spatial or precision software and Global Positioning System (GPS) too is important for the performance and growth of an Agronomist. 
  • Analytical and Mathematical Skills – A prior background in Maths and Statistics is considered a key skill to gather, analyze and interpret the data related to agriculture. An Agronomist has to calculate input rates, field area, and equipment calibration and set valid field comparisons.
  • Communication Skills – Agronomists require excellent verbal as well as non-verbal communication skills to communicate with other specialists on a team and also to interact with fellow colleagues, superiors, farmers, and other stakeholders.
  • Desire to Learn – An agronomist requires to remain updated with the modern trends and techniques used in the agriculture sector. Staying updated always helps the professional to get better result and confidence in the work. 

Eligibility Criteria

Where Criteria
Abroad 10+ 2 in Science with PCB with min. 55-60%
IELTS or TOEFL as per university requirements
India 10+2 in Science with PCB with min. 55-60%

Top Universities to Study Agronomy Abroad

The top colleges/universities outside India to study Agronomy and become Agronomist are mentioned below.

University Country
University of Massachusetts United States of America
Wageningen University and Research Center  Netherland
China Agricultural University China
The University of Sydney Australia
The University of Melbourne Australia
University of Guelph Canada
University of the Fraser Valley Canada
National University of Singapore  Singapore
Nanyang Technological University Singapore
University of Gottingen Germany

Top Colleges to Become an Agronomist in India 

The following are the top colleges to study Agriculture in India:

College/ University Location
Indian Agricultural Research Institute Delhi
Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University Coimbatore
G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Uttarakhand
Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth Pune
University of Calcutta Kolkata
Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University Bihar
Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture Allahabad
Junagarh Agricultural University Gujarat
BAU, Ranchi Jharkhand

Average Salary of an Agronomist

The salary of an Agronomist depends upon the educational qualification, grades achieved, internships, prior work experience and knowledge base and expertise in the field. On average, the following is the salary that you can earn as an Agronomist: 

Agronomist Salary Abroad $50,000 to $90,000 (INR 39.50  lakhs to 71.32 lakhs)
Agronomist Salary in India INR 4.0 lakhs to 9.0 lakhs

FAQs

What are the branches of Agronomy?

The main branches of Agronomy are Soil Science, Plant Breeding, Agroecology etc.

Is career as an Agronomist a good choice?

Yes, Agronomist is a very good career choice. Agronomists study Agronomy which helps to develop the plan and strategy for sustainable agricultural production and consumption.

Is Internship mandatory to start the career as an Agronomist?

Internship is not mandatory but it is advisable to get practical work experience before completion of the UG program in Agronomy in order to get better work opportunities.

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