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Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products
SOC Code: 45-2041.00

Grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, color, or condition.

Sample of reported job titles: Agriculture Laborer, Apple Sorter, Corn Lab Technician, Distribution Technician, Egg Grader, Egg Worker, Grader, Potato Grader, Potato Sorter, Sorter


  • Place products in containers according to grade and mark grades on containers.
  • Weigh products or estimate their weight, visually or by feel.
  • Discard inferior or defective products or foreign matter, and place acceptable products in containers for further processing.
  • Grade and sort products according to factors such as color, species, length, width, appearance, feel, smell, and quality to ensure correct processing and usage.
  • Record grade or identification numbers on tags or on shipping, receiving, or sales sheets.

Technology Skills

  • Electronic mail software - Microsoft Outlook
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Web platform development software - Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Belt conveyors
  • Binocular light compound microscopes
  • Calipers - 12-inch aluminum Kemper calipers; 6-inch plastic calipers; Digital calipers
  • Centrifugal separation equipment or parts or screens - Rotary sifters; Specific gravity separators
  • Chain conveyors - Drag conveyors
  • Digital cameras
  • Domestic apple corer - Apple corers
  • Domestic garlic press - Garlic presses
  • Electronic measuring probes - Meat probes; Probes
  • Electronic toploading balances - Overhead weighing systems
  • Grading machines for seed or grain or dried leguminous vegetables - Deformation testers; Firmness testers; General purpose sizers; Seed graders (see all 10 examples)
  • Handheld refractometers or polarimeters - Digital refractometers
  • Penetrometers - Electronic penetrometers
  • Pry bars - Crate openers
  • Reflectometers - Optical reflectometers
  • Sample holders - Diverter samplers; Peanut triers
  • Sorting machines for seed or grain or dried leguminous vegetables - Color sorters; Cross belt sorters; Shape sorting machines; Weight sorting machines (see all 8 examples)
  • Surface thermometers - Digital surface thermometers
  • Utility knives
  • Vibratory separation equipment or parts or screens - Vibrating screens


  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.


  • Manual Dexterity - The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Finger Dexterity - The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.


  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Spend Time Standing - 79% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 65% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 72% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 73% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Physical Proximity - 49% responded “Very close (near touching).”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 81% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure - 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets - 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment - 49% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 34% responded “Very important.”
  • Contact With Others - 41% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 43% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 33% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 35% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 43% responded “Moderate results.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results - 36% responded “Limited responsibility.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
64%Less than high school diploma
27%High school diploma or equivalent
5%Post-secondary certificate

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Work Values

  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Working Conditions - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $11.22 hourly, $23,340 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 43,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Little or no change (-1% to 1%)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 5,700

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