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Career and Education Opportunities for Agricultural Equipment Operators in Aurora, Illinois

Aurora, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for agricultural equipment operators. About 1,290 people are currently employed as agricultural equipment operators in Illinois. By 2016, this is expected to grow 1% to about 1,310 people employed. Agricultural equipment operators generally drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops.

The income of an agricultural equipment operator is about $13 hourly or $28,340 yearly on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $10 per hour or $22,710 per year on average. Incomes for agricultural equipment operators are better than in the overall category of Farming in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Farming category nationally.

The Aurora area is home to 175 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Aurora where you can get a degree as an agricultural equipment operator. Given that the most common education level for agricultural equipment operators is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become an agricultural equipment operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Agricultural Equipment Operator

Agricultural Equipment Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, agricultural equipment operators drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. They also may perform tasks, such as crop baling or hay bucking.

Agricultural equipment operators operate or tend machinery used in agricultural production, such as tractors and irrigation machinery. They also manipulate controls to set and adjust mechanisms on machinery. Equally important, agricultural equipment operators have to observe and listen to machinery operation to uncover equipment malfunctions. They are often called upon to attach farm implements such as plows or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools. They are expected to drive trucks to haul crops or farm staff. Finally, agricultural equipment operators adjust and service farm machinery and notify supervisors when machinery malfunctions.

Every day, agricultural equipment operators are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. They need to coordinate both hands in a single activity. It is also important that they see details at a very fine level of focus.

It is important for agricultural equipment operators to operate towed machines such as seed drills or manure spreaders to plant and spray crops. They are often called upon to load hoppers or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks. They also spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers. They are sometimes expected to mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery. Somewhat less frequently, agricultural equipment operators are also expected to weigh crop-filled containers, and record weights and other identifying data.

Agricultural equipment operators sometimes are asked to load and unload crops or containers of materials, manually or using conveyors, handtrucks or transfer augers. They also have to be able to weigh crop-filled containers, and record weights and other identifying data and walk beside or ride on planting machines while inserting plants in planter mechanisms at specified intervals. And finally, they sometimes have to attach farm implements such as plows or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.

Like many other jobs, agricultural equipment operators must be thorough and dependable and be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Aurora include:

  • Crop and Horticultural Worker. Directly supervise and coordinate activities of agricultural crop or horticultural workers.
  • Farm Labor Contractor. Recruit, hire, and supervise seasonal or temporary agricultural laborers for a fee. May transport, house, and provide meals for workers.
  • Greenhouse Assistant. Work in nursery facilities or at customer location planting, cultivating, and transplanting trees, shrubs, or plants.
  • Livestock Farmer. Attend to live farm, ranch, or aquacultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, and bees. Attend to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, and honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, castrating, branding, de-beaking, weighing, and loading animals. May maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Agricultural Equipment Operator Training

Kishwaukee College - Malta, IL

Kishwaukee College, 21193 Malta Rd, Malta, IL 60150-9699. Kishwaukee College is a small college located in Malta, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,134 students. Kishwaukee College has a one to two year program in Agricultural Power Machinery Operation which graduated twenty-eight students in 2008.


Aurora, Illinois
Aurora, Illinois photo by File Upload Bot

Aurora is situated in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 171,782, which has grown by 20.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are valued at $143,000 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-seven new homes were constructed in Aurora, down from three hundred thirty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and finance and insurance. The average travel time to work is about 29 minutes. More than 29.9% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.3%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 10.9%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Angels Roman Catholic Church, Saint Therese Roman Catholic Church and Bethany of Fox Valley United Methodist Church are all churches located in Aurora. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Aurora is home to the Watkins Hall and the Landmark Industrial Park as well as North River Street Park and O'Donnell Park. Shopping centers in the area include Yorkshire Shopping Center, Village Mart Shopping Center and Fox Valley Mall. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Comfort Suites Aurora, Galena Hotel and Comfort Inn for temporary stays in the area.