Aspiring agronomists generally need a combination of academic studies and fieldwork to secure employment in their fields. Agronomists, also referred to as crop scientists, specialize in the production and improvement of crops while learning and teaching others how to manage and reduce weeds and pests. Agronomists, like professional chefs, generally encounter much experimentation in their work.
Agronomists vary in their academic training and levels of expertise. Most agronomists hold college degrees at the undergraduate level in a relevant field of science, such as biology or chemistry. Some study agricultural theory and take courses in agricultural management and crop production too. Agronomists typically study crop production patterns and techniques on farms and ultimately determine the best ways to harvest, plant, cultivate and manage plants and crops. They also create methods and techniques for controlling the spread of weeds and help keep crops free of pests and disease. Some background in mathematics is helpful for agronomy because practitioners use mathematical skills to conduct various tasks and perform experiments. Some agronomists interact heavily with the public and take courses in public speaking and even diplomacy. Agronomists must understand laws and regulations governing food crops, which makes coursework in law and policy important too.