AGNR Prospective Students
The ACE Center is designed to help prospective AGNR students discover how a degree from the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources can open doors for them in their future careers and entrepreneurship endeavors.
Utilize the resources below to learn more about potential career pathways, how to choose the right major, student highlights, and AGNR events.
Natural Resource Conservation and Management
- Decides and identifies which places need to be set aside for protection.
- Provides details on how areas should be conserved and the appropriate methods to use.
- Often are employed through government agencies due to the policies and regulations involved in protecting an area of land from development or extraction.
- Requires knowledge in both conservation practices and environmental policies.
- Job demand is growing.
Disaster Management Specialist
- Coordinates response systems following a natural disaster.
- Modifies or creates new procedures for effective responses.
- Maintains connections with communities and the law enforcement workers within those communities.
- Designs evacuation routes.
- Must be good at decision making.
- Background knowledge of previous successful or failed emergency responses.
- Focuses on the connections between organisms and the environment.
- Studies the interactions of these organisms either with other organisms or with the environment.
- Researches the beneficial, detrimental or neutral impacts of particular organisms on their community.
- Provides the background knowledge for conservation planning efforts.
- Median salary in Maryland is $70,170.
- Interested in collecting data, conducting research, and interpreting data.
Environmental Health Professional
- Environmental health deals with how the health of the environment impacts and affects the health of humans.
- An Environmental Health Professional can also be called: environmental health physician, environmental health nurse or registered environmental health specialist.
- Can work with the fields of: “food safety, water protection, air quality, noise issues, pollution, hazardous and toxic substances, waste disposal, and other related issues."
- Researches the current status of forests.
- Collects the research in the field.
- Uses GIS and remote sensing to convert and analyze collected data.
- Able to explain and examine the different relationships in the forest ecosystems.
- Background knowledge of potential diseases and wildlife that could harm the health of the forest.
- Writes reports on their conclusions.
- Median salary in 2015 was $67,460.
- “It has been reported that this sector can expect an 11% growth in job demand between 2014 and 2024."
- Focuses on the interactions and relationships between water and land, especially how the movement of water can alter the land.
- Can specialize in either groundwater or surface water hydrology.
- Can work with precipitation research, water supply research, pollution research, water use research and more.
- Collects data in the field to use for research.
- Often focuses on future conditions and ways to model and manage water systems in the future.
- In 2012, the median salary for hydrologists in Maryland was $89,040.
- Many hydrology jobs will require a graduate degree.
- Monitors the health of soil to ensure stable landscapes and ecosystems.
- Develops management plans for unhealthy locations.
- Conducts land surveys.
- In 2018, the median salary for soil conservationists was $61,310.
- Participates in the research and data collection of new variations in today’s and future climatic patterns.
- Models future changes based off of current legislation and policies.
- Provides recommendations for the best actions to take for mitigation.
- Incorporate findings into reports and presentations for the public.
- Master’s degree is preferred.
- Studies how humans have an impact on the environment and the interactions of species within specific ecosystems.
- Collects data for “environmental impact assessments”.
- Makes important decisions and suggestions for the improvement of development or construction projects.
- Writes reports detailing the anthropogenic changes of ecosystems and the negative impacts of projects occurring in natural habitats.
- The average salary for environmental biologists in Maryland in 2012 was $70,170.
Environmental Compliance Inspector
- Ensures people and companies are properly maintaining and following environmental regulations.
- Knowledge of environmental legislation.
- Visits sites to document the site’s levels of compliance.
- Give instructions to law-breakers on how to adjust their practices.
- The average salary for environmental compliance inspectors in Maryland in 2018 was $51,580.
- Provides advice and strategies for employers on how to comply with environmental regulations.
- Completes environmental impact assessments.
- Writes reports on findings and suggestions.
- The average salary for environmental consultants in Maryland in 2018 was $71,820.
- GIS stands for geographic information systems
- Collects data and then uploads it into a GIS software so that it can be edited by users digitally.
- Makes sure previous GIS data is accurate for the user.
- “GIS technician, a person responsible for digitizing, inputting, updating and ensuring the integrity of the data in the system.”
- Average salary for a GIS Technician in 2017 was $42,135.
- Uses GIS software to participate in mapping, measuring, modeling, managing and monitoring.
- Looks for relationships within the spatial data.
- Creates map which displays the relationships between its displayed attributes.
- Average salary for a GIS Specialist in 2012 was $57,440.
- Focuses studies specifically on “regional waterways and freshwater ecosystems”.
- Researches the different ecological interactions of the freshwater system. Observes and collects data on the health of the freshwater system.
- Requires a master’s degree or doctoral degree.
- Have to predict how future changes and challenges will impact these ecosystems.
- “[Naturalism] is the study of the natural world as a whole and the study of each species within its environment(s), as well as how species interact with each other.”
- Strong background in evolutionary science.
- Often out in the field making observations and transferring them to a written format for further analysis and reporting.
- Average salary for Naturalists in 2015 was $59,680.
- Master’s degree are beneficial when pursuing a career as a naturalist.
- Very important in the face of today’s challenges to understand soil health and how we can protect it and utilize it to help humans live on the planet.
- “These professionals identify, interpret, map, and manage soils.”
- Not only do soil scientists work with agricultural practices, but soil also plays a role in land and water conservation practices.
- Help businesses to become more environmentally friendly and save costs at the same time.
- Have to work with many of the company’s departments to determine new solutions, marketing strategies, projects, and more.
- Knowledge of environmental regulations and current cost-effective sustainable solutions.
- “Waste management specialists plan, implement, and coordinate comprehensive waste management systems that are designed to maximize waste prevention, reuse, and recycling opportunities.”
- Helps to protect natural resources by minimizing human’s negative waste impacts.
- Knowledge of how different types of waste impact ecosystems, and how these wastes could be cleaned up or avoided altogether. Understands the lifetimes of materials and how long they last in different environmental settings.
- Specifically conducts research on the health of wetlands and the different ways wetlands can be impacted by both anthropogenic and natural causes.
- Understands the importance of a wetland’s ecosystem services and what to do to protect these services.
- Uses data to predict future conditions and changes in the wetland.
Food and Nutrition
Consumer Safety Officer (advanced)
- This job connects the public health field with the food and nutrition field.
- It involves making sure industries and companies are complying with regulations to ensure that consumers will be safe when eating or using these products.
- One of the biggest employers in this field is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Those with a higher degree can make a large salary of $75,000-$15,000 a year as a Consumer Safety Officer.
- An expert in the Food and Nutrition field who receives a RD (registered dietician) credential.
- A growing career with a potential to work in several different places including, hospitals, athletic facilities and private firms.
- Have to go through training and an examination after receiving a Bachelor’s degree.
- Generally, a nutritionist works to help their clients manage their nutritional intake to prevent disease and improve their health.
- Most nutritionists either work in a clinical or community setting.
- Has to stay updated on nutrition science research and be able to advise clients on this research about how a certain nutrition plan can work alongside their medical condition and general health.
- A food scientist can work in inspection, research or production.
- Has the potential to analyze the nutritional values of foods and learn more about the development of healthy foods.
- The research pathway involves experimenting and examining new methods to make sure foods are safe to eat and taste good at the same time.
- In the inspection pathway, a food scientist would make sure the contents of food are following all regulations and policies.
- On the production side, a food scientist would contribute to new preservation or packaging methods to ensure quality products.
- Tasked with ensuring food is safe for consumption and contains proper labeling.
- Researches new ways to develop processed food that is also nutritious.
- Knowledge of preservation methods to maintain the quality of food by the time it arrives to the consumer.
Agricultural Business and Financial Management
- This job pertains to the data and statistics of agricultural markets. Specifically, using their research to anticipate and forecast and patterns or trends in the agricultural economy.
- Can specialize in specific agricultural areas. Classes to consider include: food science, agricultural policies and marketing systems, and farm credits (in addition to economics classes).
- Often requires an advanced degree.
- Projected to grow with a median salary of $104,340 (for economists).
- Agritourism is a growing field to connect those interested in food and agriculture practices when traveling.
- An Agritourism Manager helps connect farmers with new entrepreneurial practices and business models that will help attract new revenue to their agriculture business.
- Develops educational and engaging agriculture programs.
- This job requires knowledge of local regulations, the prices of the commodities, soil quality of the area, irrigation properties, average climate of the area, and more.
- Involves three main approaches: cost, sales comparison, and income.
- Ability to determine a land’s current value, but also its value after improvements.
- Responsible for supervising the operations, management, and maintenance of a farm. These operations can differ depending on what type of farm is being managed. For example, the farm can focus on crops, horticulture, aquaculture, and livestock.
- Often the decision-makers on the farm, which requires knowledge on production, timing of the seasons, revenues, what to do in the case of crop failures, and more.
- The average salary for a farmer manager is $67,950 per year.
Financial Service Representative
- Often responsible for loan and insurance portfolios for farms and other agricultural businesses.
- Manages financial reports for their clients, researches appropriate financial credits, creates market relationships, develops proposals, and more.
- Can be employed by agricultural lending banks or agricultural insurance companies.
- Average salary $62,820 per year.
- Can also be referred to as an Extension Youth Program Coordinator
- Responsibilities could include developing resources and programs for 4-H members. This includes planning educational workshops, overseeing clubs, gathering reports, creating engaging activities, and more.
- Studies animal behaviors and what causes animals to act in certain ways. This can include how animals communicate, how they interact around other species, their psychology, and more.
- Has knowledge of different methods of training and treatments.
- Can specialize in specific types of animals.
- Animal behaviorists can work in research environments, animal welfare organizations, zoos, etc.
- Involves helping animals maintain their wellbeing by caring for their health and safety. This can include feeding, cleaning, sometimes assisting with medical examinations and vaccinations.
- Some positions require working with the public to ensure the animal’s comfort. For example, when working with people for the adoption of an animal.
- The main part of an animal health inspector’s job is to make sure that animals are being treated properly and have safe living situations.
- This requires knowledge of both the state and federal laws that facilities have to follow in order to maintain an animal’s wellbeing.
- Involves an inspection process, explanations to the public, gathering of information, creation of reports, testifying discoveries, working with veterinarians and other inspectors.
- Works with animals, pets, agricultural animals, and zoo animals, to make sure they are receiving the proper food for their diet.
- Researches how types of food can affect an animal’s well-being.
- This job involves research, planning, testing, analyzing, and investigating.
- Performs medical examinations of animals and analyzes symptoms to determine a diagnosis and proper treatment methods.
- May perform medical procedures.
- Have to communicate an animal’s diagnosis and treatment properly to the owners.
- “Veterinary epidemiologists are veterinarians with advanced training in monitoring, controlling, and preventing disease in animal populations.”
- Specializes specifically in understanding what causes disease outbreaks in animal populations and how to combat these outbreaks.
- Requires knowledge on the transmission of diseases, how diseases are spread, the different types of treatments and controls for disease, and more.
- Analyzes data and develops plans for moving forward.
- Observes an animal’s role in its ecosystem and the interactions it has within that environment.
- Performs experiments to further our understanding of species.
- Carries a role of discovering the best ways to protect species and their habitats through a better understanding of what each species needs.
- Spends a lot of time outside in the field and in a species’ natural habitat.
- “Wildlife managers are responsible for overseeing all aspects of wildlife conservation and management in a designated territory.”
- Many different tasks are involved in wildlife management including, population research, natural resource protection, care taking of endangered species, repairing habitats, observing ecosystem interactions, etc.
- Wildlife managers may also help create important laws to protect species against hunters.
- Works to help hurt animals gain their strength and be properly integrated back into their original environment.
- Requires a large amount of knowledge on how to properly interact with wildlife, and the best ways to reintegrate species into their habitats without hurting them.
- A wildlife rehabilitator helps veterinarians figure out the best way to handle the animal that needs help, and their different health requirements.
- Involves communication with the public to educate people on the importance of conservation and protection of specific species.
- Answers wildlife concerns using research of the local area, and develops solutions to address things like overhunting. They often create wildlife plans detailing the problems, their research, and the solutions.
- Zoology refers specifically to, “the study of animals and their behavior”.
- A zoologist is tasked with observing animals and their everyday interactions both in the wild and in captivity.
- Their studies help to determine conservation programs, population estimates, identified threats, and more.
- Knowledge of geographic information systems is useful to monitor animal movements.
- “Agronomists study the numerous ways plants can be cultivated, genetically altered, and utilized to our advantage.”
- Many agronomists focus on improving both the quantity and quality of plant production.
- Often perform experiments on the plants in question to determine factors such as its yield, lifespan, and durability.
- Focuses on the study of trees. Including a tree’s health, growth, sickness, and decay.
- Ensures that trees do not fall on people’s homes, get in the way of power lines, and makes sure that the tree is healthy and stable.
- Can create plans for tree pruning, tree removal, tree planting, and emergency tree care.
- Study plant processes and conduct research involving how plants can be enhanced, how they can be used to help humans, and their role in a cleaner environment.
- Can also conduct research on how to protect different plant species.
- Oftentimes, botanists specialize in a certain area because of the large array of plants on both a micro and macroscopic level.
- Gives helpful input to farmers and other clients on their crop health and productivity.
- Makes suggestions on how to improve or change their agriculture methods.
- Collects data on crops and farm practices.
- Works on improving business efficiency.
- Works with plants to investigate and improve their health.
- Important to understand biology, botany, and soil science’s main concepts.
- Help plants that are suffering from disease or damage.
Nutrient Management Specialist
- Determines waste removal and treatment plans to help protect the environment.
- Understands what affects nutrient levels, and how to maintain an appropriate amount of nutrients.
- Conducts research on nutrients impacts on the environment.
- Assesses site locations and develop nutrient management plans for clients.
- Works in a research lab to further human’s understanding of plants and plant species.
- This research helps, “ecology, climate sciences, soil science, agriculture, industry and commerce, and even pharmaceuticals”.
- Understands both a plant’s biology and chemistry. This research involved more quantitative than qualitative data.
- Specifically, studies plant disease, pests, and health problems.
- Typically plant pathologists work in laboratories, sampling plants, inoculating viruses, analyzing vectors, and collecting data.
- Focuses on the health of different types of grasses.
- This usually involves caring for large grass spaces used for recreation, parks, events, and more.
- The maintenance of the turf can also include understanding irrigation systems and how they can affect the health of the grass.
- Develops management and conservation plans to include both agriculture and forest lands. And studies how the proximity and spacing of these two types of land can play a role in increased yields and a cleaner environment.
- “The general idea behind agroforestry is to use trees and shrubs that complement the plants used in agricultural practice.”
- Helps farmers plan and plant the right crops that will create a more diverse and healthier environment.
- “Landscape Architects work with the man-made and natural environment to create wildlife habitats, innovative spaces, install sustainable infrastructure and thriving communities.”
- Has to combine interest in design with knowledge of natural resources, cultural awareness, and economic factors.
- An important job as cities and places will have to adapt in the face of climate change and work with nature in architecture.
- “Designs, creates and maintains natural and artificial wetland spaces.”
- Needs strong background in ecology.
- Close communications with a team of engineers, planners, and architects.
- Interested in protecting fragile habitats and improving water quality.
- Maps out a purpose for a section of land to serve the local community’s needs.
- Proposes answers to today’s questions of increased populations and less space to house everyone.
- Can also work on re-planning old areas which require revitalization.
- Collect and analyze data on the area, its inhabitants, its environment, its economy, and more.
- Knowledge of the different regulations and codes in the region.
How to Plan Ahead for your Future Agricultural Career
Choose the Right Major
Investigate our 8 main majors, their concentrations, our certificate programs, and read above to see examples of careers in these fields.
Use AgExplorer, a helpful online resource, to look at agricultural career focus areas, career spotlights, virtual field trips, and even take their Career Finder quiz.
Participate in Entrepreneurship
There are many ways to get involved in entrepreneurship both within the College of AGNR and also across campus. Here are several of the ways you can build your entrepreneurial skills at UMD:
- Begin by watching the ACE Center's virtual webinar recording, So you Want to be an Entrepreneur! Presented by Dr. David Tilley, Environmental Science and Technology Associate Professor.
- Webinar Description: Learn the latest tools for testing out your great idea for a business or non-profit. Don't have a great idea? Then learn how to create one. Dr. Tilley will walk you through some of the newest tools for testing and creating ideas that sell and that people want. You will learn about empathy mapping, customer discovery, design thinking and the business model canvas.
- Have an entrepreneurial idea already? Learn how to bring your idea to the next level with several workshops leading up to a competition against other students in the annual AgEnterprise Challenge.
- Enroll in ENST282: Ecological Innovation and Entrepreneurship. "The course combines design thinking, which uses an iterative cycle of developing customer empathy, learning ecological technology, appreciating environmental stewardship, brainstorming, rapid prototyping, user experience, testing and redesign, with Lean Startup..."
- Explore UMD's Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. AIE offers classes, instructional methods, events, and more.
- Minor or take classes from UMD's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship:
- Consider adding the Innovation & Entrepreneurship minor in addition to your AGNR major.
- Participate in the Maryland Social Entrepreneur Corps Summer Study Abroad program for any undergraduate major interested in entrepreneurship.
- Enroll in BMGT 289E - Entrepreneurial Thinking for Non-Business Majors: How Not to Miss Great Opportunities Your Life Throws at You.
- Events to help you develop new entrepreneurial ideas - Dingman Fridays, mentors, fearless ideas workshops, crash courses, legal advice, market places, competitions, and more.
Join the Right Club
Joining the right club can help you test out different career pathways and help you to meet other students with similar interests. Check out more information on all of our AGNR clubs.
Stay connected to the AGNR program to remain updated on planning ahead for your future agricultural career:
- Follow AGNR's social media (linked in the bottom corner of this website)
- Email our AGNR student ambassadors with any questions you may have
- Look for updates on our Event page
- Read more about the Undergraduate Admissions process to AGNR
How are current students utilizing the opportunities of AGNR and ACE to further develop agricultural systems across Maryland and advance their careers?
Our "Student Spotlight" series highlights the different ways AGNR students are involved both within their major and the wider campus.
Read Rachael's Student Spotlight Interview
The biggest piece of advice I could give is to try out every experience that comes your way."Rachael May Advice for future students
AGNR at Maryland Day
Maryland Day is a large event to celebrate all of the wonderful activities, research, and learning going on at UMD and within the State of Maryland. To the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Maryland Day is commonly referred to as "Ag Day".
This is a great place to have fun, learn more about agricultural systems in Maryland, and see how students are contributing to more sustainable agricultural practices. Find out more information about Ag Day events and traditions.
Annual Ag-tober Family Weekend
Ag-tober is a way to celebrate Family Weekend with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Meet alumni, play games, eat good food, and have a great time.
Gives you the opportunity to learn more about the different pathways AGNR alums have taken since graduation.
Annual College of AGNR Fall Bash
This event is sponsored by the AGNR Academic Programs and AGNR Student Council. A perfect way to celebrate the beginning of the fall semester with free food! At this event, you can learn more about our student organizations and meet the Associate Dean.
Annual AGNR Cornerstone Event
Each year, one of AGNR's five strategic initiatives holds a large Cornerstone Event in the fall. This event gives students a chance to attend presentations, network, and even present a poster on their own research. Learn more about this fall's Cornerstone Event.
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