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Career and Education Opportunities for Agricultural Technicians in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for agricultural technicians. Currently, 920 people work as agricultural technicians in Illinois. This is expected to grow 7% to about 990 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for agricultural technicians are expected to grow by about 8.8%. Agricultural technicians generally set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals.

A person working as an agricultural technician can expect to earn about $16 per hour or $33,530 per year on average in Illinois and about $16 hourly or $33,990 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for agricultural technicians are not quite as good as in the overall category of Life Science Technical in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Life Science Technical category nationally. Jobs in this field include: landscaping specialist, seed analysis laboratory assistant, and seed analyst.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as an agricultural technician. The most common level of education for agricultural technicians is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become an agricultural technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Agricultural Technician

In general, agricultural technicians set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. They also prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.

Every day, agricultural technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they write clearly and communicate well.

It is important for agricultural technicians to record data pertaining to experimentation and animal care. They are often called upon to ready data summaries and analyses that include results and graphs to document research findings and results. They also collect samples from crops or animals so testing can be performed. They are sometimes expected to adjust testing equipment, and ready culture media, following standard procedures. Somewhat less frequently, agricultural technicians are also expected to transplant trees or horticultural plants.

Agricultural technicians sometimes are asked to measure and mark plot areas, and plow, disc and otherwise ready land for cultivated crops, orchards and vineyards. They also have to be able to furnish routine animal care such as taking and recording body measurements and assisting in the birthing process and conduct insect and plant disease surveys. And finally, they sometimes have to examine animals and specimens to establish the presence of diseases or other problems.

Like many other jobs, agricultural technicians must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Forensic Investigator. Collect, identify, and analyze physical evidence related to criminal investigations. Perform tests on weapons or substances, such as fiber, hair, and tissue to determine significance to investigation. May testify as expert witnesses on evidence or crime laboratory techniques. May serve as specialists in area of expertise, such as ballistics, fingerprinting, or biochemistry.
  • Forestry and Wildlife Manager. Compile data pertaining to size, content, and other characteristics of forest tracts, under direction of foresters; train and lead forest workers in forest propagation, fire prevention and suppression. May assist conservation scientists in managing, improving, and protecting rangelands and wildlife habitats, and help provide technical assistance regarding the conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Agricultural Technician Training

Dominican University - River Forest, IL

Dominican University, 7900 W Division St, River Forest, IL 60305. Dominican University is a small university located in River Forest, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,413 students and an admission rate of 85%. Dominican University has a bachelor's degree program in Food Science.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.