AgGrad, Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics, Plant Pathologist, Agricultural Research Service, Veterinarian, Ag Job, PhD, Extension Agent, Master's,

Agriculture Careers That Require an Advanced Degree

Do you know if your dream career requires an advanced degree? Agriculture is a broad industry spanning from growing food and fiber to the production and marketing of food products.  Let us help you figure out which career paths require an advanced degree.

Extension Agent

Are you planning on being a county extension agent? Excited to work as an educator and facilitator in the ag space? Extension Agents usually focus on a few areas including agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, community economic development and leadership and FNP and EFNEP work. A master’s degree is usually required to be an extension agent; some employers will hire a candidate with a bachelor’s degree dependent on the candidate earning their master’s degree within a specific time-frame.*

*(There are a few states who no longer require a masters degree to be an Extension Agent.) 



It’s pretty common knowledge that if you want to be a practicing veterinarian you will need to earn your DVM. It may not be common knowledge that if you don’t meet the requirements to be accepted into a vet school a master’s degree can often help your chances.



Anyone who is pining to be a lecturer or professor in agriculture related subjects are required to have an advanced degree. Subjects included are agricultural economics, animal science, biological engineering, entomology, nutrition and food system, poultry science, soil and crop science, agriculture leadership, agricultural communications, horticultural sciences, plant pathology and microbiology are just a few of the options available. Lecturer positions at small universities often require just a master’s degree to apply. Full-time professors who teach and research full-time, customarily have a doctorate degree.


Agricultural Research Service

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the United States Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-house research agency. ARS works to find solutions to problems that affect Americans from field to table. With a $1.1 billion fiscal year budget the ARS oversees 750 research projects within 17 National programs and hires 2000 scientists and post doctorate graduates.


Plant Pathologist

A plant pathologist specializes in keeping plants healthy and understanding the organisms and agents that cause diseases in plants. Plant Pathologist graduate with a bachelors degree in a biology, chemistry, or math field before a graduate degree in plant pathology. Graduate studies in plant pathology is often essential to gain the understanding needed to earn a position as a plant pathologist.


Agribusiness and Agricultural Economics

Many jobs in agriculture business and economics do not require an advanced degree there are some that do.  Often working in agriculture economics as an analyst or consultant will require an advanced understanding of commodity and market trends. Those working in agriculture business and agriculture economics look at the impact of government policies, agriculture trade, and commodity pricing. Many of these decisions affect rural areas.


Animal Nutritionist

For those who want to pursue a career in animal nutrition, an advanced degree is usually required. Animal nutritionist are animal scientists who formulate diets for animals. The job prospects include livestock, companion animals, and zoo animals. Animal nutritionists need to have a strong understanding of a number of scientific disciplines, including animal behavior, chemistry and physics.

Did we miss one? What careers do you know that require an advanced degree? 

Hannah Miller