Career Development

What Does a Field Worker Do?

Find out what a Field Worker does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Field Worker.

Field Workers serve as the hands-on force that performs the essential tasks across various industries, from agriculture to construction, and environmental studies to public health. Their role encompasses a broad spectrum of activities, including data collection, maintenance, and direct service or labor, all conducted outside the confines of a traditional office setting. By working directly in the field, these professionals ensure that projects and operations proceed smoothly and efficiently, adapting to the dynamic conditions and challenges that arise in outdoor or site-specific environments. Their contributions are fundamental in translating plans and designs into tangible outcomes, making them an indispensable part of the workforce that directly impacts the success and sustainability of their respective sectors.

Field Worker Job Duties

  • Plant, tend, and harvest crops, including preparing the soil, planting seeds or seedlings, and using appropriate agricultural tools and machinery.
  • Apply pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers to crops as needed, following safety protocols and environmental regulations.
  • Operate and maintain farm machinery and equipment, such as tractors, plows, and irrigation systems, ensuring they are in good working condition.
  • Monitor crop growth and health, identifying any signs of disease, pest infestation, or other issues that could affect yield or quality.
  • Irrigate farm soil and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps, managing water usage efficiently to ensure optimal crop growth.
  • Perform manual weed removal and soil cultivation to promote healthy crop development without relying solely on chemical treatments.
  • Collect and record data on crop yield, weather conditions, and other relevant agricultural metrics for analysis and future planning.
  • Participate in community outreach or educational programs, sharing knowledge on sustainable farming practices and promoting local agriculture.

Field Worker Salary & Outlook

Field Worker salaries vary based on experience, skill level in using specialized equipment, the complexity of tasks performed, industry (e.g., agriculture, environmental research), demand for specific expertise (e.g., pest identification, soil analysis), and the size of the employer. Seasonal work fluctuations and hazardous working conditions can also influence earnings.

  • Median Annual Salary: $39,900 ($19.18/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $70,500 ($33.89/hour)

The employment of field workers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

This growth is driven by increasing demands in agriculture, environmental monitoring, and infrastructure projects. As global population and urbanization expand, the need for food production, environmental conservation, and development projects escalates, necessitating more field workers to manage and execute these tasks efficiently.

Field Worker Job Requirements

Education: Field Worker positions often attract individuals with diverse educational backgrounds. A significant portion have completed some college courses, indicating that post-secondary education in areas such as agriculture, environmental science, or biology can be beneficial. Additionally, having a high school diploma is common among field workers, showcasing that foundational education paired with relevant subjects, like science and mathematics, can prepare candidates for the practical aspects of the job. Advanced education is not typically required, but courses related to the field of work can enhance a candidate’s understanding and effectiveness in their role.

Experience: Field Workers often start with no prior experience, learning the ropes through on-the-job training. As they progress, gaining hands-on experience becomes crucial, especially in areas like crop management, equipment operation, and safety protocols. Many advance by participating in formal training programs, which enhance their skills in specific agricultural practices. Experience in teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability to various outdoor conditions is also valued. Continuous learning and skill development are key components, allowing workers to tackle a range of tasks effectively in the field.

Certifications & Licenses: Field Worker positions typically do not require specific certifications or licenses. However, depending on the industry, certifications such as Pesticide Applicator License, First Aid/CPR, or specific safety certifications (e.g., OSHA 10-Hour for Construction) might be beneficial or sometimes needed.

Field Worker Skills

Soil Sampling: Collecting and analyzing soil samples allows field workers to determine nutrient content, contamination levels, and overall soil health. This meticulous process guides agricultural planning and environmental assessments, requiring a methodical approach to ensure data accuracy and reliability for land management and crop production decisions.

Crop Monitoring: Observing and recording crop health, growth, and development involves techniques like soil moisture checks, pest and disease identification, and growth tracking. Field workers analyze this data to make informed decisions on irrigation, fertilization, and pest control strategies, aiming for optimal agricultural output.

Pest Identification: Effective management strategies depend on the ability to distinguish between various pests and understand their potential impact. Field workers implement targeted control measures, reducing the need for broad-spectrum pesticides and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.

Irrigation Management: Proper water resource allocation to crops, considering their specific needs and growth stages, involves precise timing and distribution. Operating and maintaining irrigation systems to achieve optimal soil moisture levels without wastage or environmental harm is a critical skill for field workers.

Harvesting Techniques: Selecting the appropriate time and method for crop harvesting can greatly enhance yield quality and quantity. Field workers employ precise techniques, whether manual picking or using specialized machinery, based on crop type and maturity stage, to reduce damage and waste.

GPS Mapping: Utilizing precise location data, field workers efficiently navigate remote areas for accurate data collection and resource allocation. The ability to create and interpret detailed maps facilitates project planning, execution, and reporting, enhancing operations in various environments.

Field Worker Work Environment

Field workers often find themselves in a variety of outdoor settings, adapting to the physical demands of their environment, whether it be agricultural lands, construction sites, or natural habitats. Their workspace is as dynamic as the weather, requiring a flexibility in scheduling and attire to match the day’s conditions. Tools and equipment are fundamental to their tasks, ranging from handheld devices to larger machinery, all necessitating a keen understanding of safety protocols to mitigate risks associated with their operation.

The work hours for field workers can vary, sometimes requiring early starts or late finishes, dependent on the project at hand. This variability extends to travel requirements, with some roles necessitating significant time away from home to reach remote locations. Despite these demands, the culture among field workers often fosters a strong sense of camaraderie, born from shared experiences and the collective tackling of physical tasks.

Interaction with others, whether colleagues or clients, is a constant, underscoring the importance of communication skills. Meanwhile, the emotional environment can be challenging, yet rewarding, as the tangible results of one’s labor become evident. Technology plays a supporting role, enhancing efficiency and accuracy in data collection and project management. Overall, the work-life balance and accessibility to amenities can be challenging, yet many find fulfillment in the tangible impact of their work and the variety each day brings.

Advancement Prospects

Field workers, often starting in roles such as data collection or agricultural labor, have diverse advancement paths depending on their sector. In agriculture, experienced workers can progress to supervisory roles, managing teams, and eventually overseeing farm operations. Mastery in using agricultural technology can lead to specialized positions like agricultural technicians or agronomists.

In research or social services, field workers can evolve into field coordinators or project managers, directing research projects or community programs. Demonstrating expertise in data analysis and reporting can further propel them into roles such as data managers or research analysts, where synthesizing field data for decision-making becomes key.

Advancement requires a deep understanding of the field, exceptional organizational skills, and the ability to manage both data and people effectively. Gaining experience across different projects and demonstrating leadership capabilities are crucial steps for field workers aiming to advance their careers.


What Does a News Director Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Church Treasurer Do?