Green Jobs Hawaii

Aloha and welcome to Hawai'i Green Jobs Initiative featuring current green job openings in Hawaii, information about local green training programs and training providers, and Hawaii's green labor market. This portal is a service of the Hawaii State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) which is responsible for ensuring and increasing the economic security, well-being, and productivity of Hawaii's workers.

C-PrecisionAgriTechs

Precision Agriculture Technicians

Overview | Specific Work Activities | Common Work Activities | Related Occupations | Skills and Abilities | Working Conditions | Physical Demands | Knowledge | Interests | Wages | Current Employment | Outlook |
Helpful High School Courses | Preparation | Related Educational Programs | Hiring Practices | Licensing/Certification/Designation/Registration | Advancement Opportunities | Additional Sources of Information

At a Glance

  • Help to improve agricultural practices so they are extremely efficient
  • Use computers and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Are good at math and science
  • Train through one- and two-year programs
  • Earn $50,840 per year (Hawaii median)

Overview

Precision agriculture technicians use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) to improve agricultural practices.

Precision agriculture technicians make farming more efficient. They use data from technology such as GPS and GIS to advise farmers on how to manage crops. They make recommendations to farmers and agricultural engineers about watering, planting, and pesticide application.

Technicians rely on data and mapping from GPS and GIS systems. These kinds of maps give information. Examples include where pests are or what areas need water. They can also give information about soil type, the best kinds of fertilizers to use, the types of weeds in fields, and what kinds of crops to plant.

Technicians advise farmers on crop selection. For example, they tell farmers if planting corn would be better for the soil than growing cotton. Their data can help farmers reduce the amount of chemicals they use. Using fewer chemicals helps farmers save money. Technicians also improve weed identification and automatic spraying systems. Combined with these and other green farming practices, precision agriculture lowers the impact on the land.

Precision agriculture technicians must know about agriculture and GIS and GPS systems. They also need to know soil and crop science. To find and test data, they use sophisticated computer software. Technicians must also be knowledgeable about changes in farming laws and how they impact the environment.

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Specific Work Activities

The following list of occupational tasks is specific to precision agriculture technicians.
  • Collect data on soil and fields, crop yields, or field boundaries. Use field data recorders and basic geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Create and read maps showing agricultural data such as crop yields, soil type, terrain, drainage patterns, and field management history.
  • Document and maintain records of precision agriculture information.
  • Find and test data to check soil quality, terrain, field productivity, fertilizers, and weather. Use data to reduce overuse of chemicals.
  • Divide agricultural fields into zones based on soil and crop growth potential.
  • Use geospatial technology (GIS) to find soil sampling sites. Use these to test soils for the levels of the different nutrients that crops need to grow.
  • Compare crop yield maps with maps of soil tests, chemical use, or other data to create crop management plans.
  • Use knowledge of the law and environmental impacts when giving advice to farmers.
  • Draw and read maps that show soil types, terrain, and property lines.
  • Analyze data to give farmers advice on the best crop varieties for specific areas. Advise farmers on the best ways to use GIS and other precision farming technology.

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Common Work Activities

Precision agriculture technicians perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
  • Use computers.
  • Get information needed to do the job.
  • Document and record information.
  • Analyze data or information.
  • Process information.
  • Make decisions and solve problems.
  • Explain the meaning of information to others.
  • Update and use job-related knowledge.
  • Provide advice and consultation to others.
  • Identify objects, actions, and events.
  • Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
  • Communicate with people from outside the organization.
  • Establish and maintain relationships.
  • Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
  • Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
  • Think creatively.
  • Operate vehicles or mechanized equipment.
  • Teach others.
  • Perform activities that use the whole body.
  • Schedule work and activities.

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Related Occupations

Occupational Clusters:

  • Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

Related Occupations:

Hawaii Career Pathways:

  • Natural Resources

Related O*NET Specialties:

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Skills and Abilities

Precision agriculture technicians need to:

Communicate

  • Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
  • Understand spoken and written information.

Reason and Problem Solve

  • Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
  • Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
  • Develop rules or follow guidelines when arranging items in a certain order.
  • Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
  • Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.

Use Math and Science

  • Choose a mathematical method or formula to solve problems.

Manage Oneself, People, Time, and Things

  • Go back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information without becoming confused.

Perceive and Visualize

  • Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.
  • Imagine how something will look if it is moved around or its parts are rearranged.
  • Quickly and accurately compare letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns.

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Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, precision agriculture technicians:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a medium level of social interaction.
  • Usually talk to others by e-mail, phone, or in person. They sometimes write letters and memos.
  • Sometimes work as part of a team.
  • Are somewhat responsible for the work done by others.
  • Have limited responsibility for the health and safety of others.

Physical Work Conditions

  • Usually work outdoors.
  • Sometimes work indoors, usually when analyzing data. These locations may not be temperature-controlled.
  • Are sometimes exposed to hot or cold temperatures, depending on the weather.
  • Often travel around work sites in a truck, tractor, or other farm vehicle.

Work Performance

  • Must be very exact and accurate when analyzing data and making decisions.
  • Usually do not consult a supervisor before making a decision or setting tasks and goals.
  • Meet strict weekly deadlines. This makes the work atmosphere somewhat competitive.
  • Weekly make decisions that strongly impact coworkers and their company.
  • Repeat the same mental and physical tasks.

Hours / Travel

  • Usually work a standard work week, but their schedule may vary due to weather or to harvest, planting, and related schedules.

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Physical Demands

Precision agriculture technicians frequently:

  • Sit for long periods of time.

It is important for precision agriculture technicians to be able to:

  • See details of objects whether they are nearby or far away.
  • Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
  • Understand the speech of another person.
  • Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
  • Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
  • Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.

It is not as important, but still necessary, for precision agriculture technicians to be able to:

  • Move arms and legs quickly.
  • Determine the distance between objects.
  • See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
  • Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
  • Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
  • Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
  • Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
  • Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
  • Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
  • Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
  • Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
  • React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
  • Be physically active and use muscles for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
  • Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.

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Knowledge

Precision agriculture technicians need knowledge in the following areas:
  • Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of computer hardware and software.
  • Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of providing special services to customers based on their needs.
  • Mathematics: Knowledge of the rules and uses of numbers. Areas of knowledge include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and statistics.
  • English Language: Knowledge of the meaning, spelling, and use of the English language.
  • Biology: Knowledge of plants, animals, and living organisms and how they function.
  • Food Production: Knowledge of planting, growing, and harvesting food for eating.
  • Geography: Knowledge of land, sea, and air masses. Also includes knowledge of how to describe their location, features, and relationships.
  • Clerical: Knowledge of general office work such as filing and recording information.
  • Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of how to build machines, buildings, and other things. Also includes knowledge of how to use computers, machines, and tools to do work more usefully.

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Interests

Precision agriculture technicians are people who tend to:
  • Consider good working conditions important. They like jobs offering steady employment and good pay. They want employment that fits their individual work style. They may prefer doing a variety of tasks, working alone, or being busy all the time.
  • Consider independence important. They like to make decisions and try out ideas on their own. They prefer jobs where they can plan their work with little supervision.
  • Consider achievement important. They like to see the results of their work and to use their strongest abilities. They like to get a feeling of accomplishment from their work.
  • Consider support from their employer important. They like to be treated fairly and have supervisors who will back them up. They prefer jobs where they are trained well.
  • Have realistic interests. They like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like to work with plants, animals, and physical materials such as wood, tools, and machinery. They often prefer to work outside.
  • Have investigative interests. They like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking. They like to search for facts and figure out solutions to problems mentally.
  • Have conventional interests. They like work activities that follow set procedures, routines, and standards. They like to work with data and detail. They prefer working where there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Occupational Interest Codes:

  • RIC

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Wages

Wages vary by employer and area of the country. The individual's specialty and level of experience and responsibility also affect wages. Those who have supervisory duties usually earn higher wages.

Precision agriculture technicians who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Some employers also provide a retirement plan.

Life, physical, and social science technicians, all other

Location
Pay
Period
25%
Median
75%
Hawaii Hourly
$17.87
$24.44
$32.31
Yearly
$37,170
$50,840
$67,200

Honolulu

Hourly
$19.09
$26.11
$33.81
Yearly
$39,700
$54,300
$70,320
United States Hourly
$15.50
$20.74
$27.35
Yearly
$32,250
$43,130
$56,900

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Current Employment

Specific information about the number of precision agriculture technicians in Hawaii and nationally is not available. However, they are part of a larger group of "life, physical, and social science technicians." In Hawaii, around 540 from this group are employed in this medium-sized occupation.

Nationally, around 58,890 "life, physical, and social science technicians" are employed in this occupation.

Major employers:

  • Consulting firms
  • Federal, state, and local government agencies

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Outlook

In Hawaii, outlook information is not available specifically for precision agriculture technicians. However, they are part of a larger group of "life, physical, and social sciences technicians, all other." Slower than average employment growth is expected for workers in this group through the year 2020.

Nationally, employment of workers in this group is expected to grow as fast as the average through the year 2020.

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this occupation in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

Life, physical, and social science technicians, all other

   
Employment
Employment Change
 
2010
2020
Number
Percent
National
62,000
69,400
7,300
11.8
State
610
630
20
3.3

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Helpful High School Courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click here for public school graduation requirements for the Class of 2014 and 2015. Click here for the graduation requirements for the Class of 2016 and beyond. If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
  • Agronomy
  • Algebra
  • Computer Applications
  • Computer-Assisted Design (CAD)
  • Computer Science
  • Geography
  • Keyboarding
  • Plant and Soil Science

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Click here for examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

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Preparation

To work as a precision agriculture technician, you typically need to:
  • have a high school diploma or GED;
  • complete a certificate or an associate degree; and
  • complete moderate-term on-the-job training.

Education after high school

Most people prepare for this occupation by getting a certificate or associate degree in this field. Certificates typically take one year to complete while associate degrees usually take two. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer one-year programs in this field. Because this degree combines two distinct fields, it is becoming more common for schools to offer bachelor’s degrees in precision agriculture.

Work experience

Working in jobs that give you practical experience in the areas you wish to work is good background for this occupation. The fields of civil engineering and geography are very helpful as they focus on use of the Geographic Information Software (GIS). Work on a farm or ranch setting is helpful, too.

On-the-job training

As a new technician, you perform routine tasks while closely supervised by an experienced technician or agricultural engineer. As you gain experience, you work on tasks that are more difficult. Training may last a month up to a year.

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Related Educational Programs

  • Agricultural Business and Production
  • Construction Trades
  • Drafting/Design Technologies
  • Engineering
  • Engineering Technologies
  • Geography
  • Geological and Earth Sciences
  • Physics

Hiring Practices

Employers look for precision agriculture technicians who have at least a one-year degree in this field. Employers also look for applicants with strong technical, computing, and mechanical skills. Good communication skills are very important because technicians work with engineers and other team members. An interest in math, science, and farming is also important.

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Advancement Opportunities

Precision agriculture technicians usually begin by doing routine duties. They work under the close supervision of experienced technicians, technologists, or managers. As they gain experience, technicians are given more difficult assignments and have less supervision. Precision agriculture technicians with leadership skills may advance to supervisor positions. Keeping their skills current through continuing education classes helps technicians to advance.

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Additional Sources of Information

Library References

Career Information Available on the Internet

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