Career and Education Opportunities for Agricultural Equipment Operators in Rockford, Illinois
There are many career and education opportunities for agricultural equipment operators in the Rockford, Illinois area. There are currently 1,290 working agricultural equipment operators in Illinois; this should grow 1% to 1,310 working agricultural equipment operators in the state by 2016. In general, agricultural equipment operators 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 per year on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $10 hourly or $22,710 per year on average. Earnings for agricultural equipment operators are better than earnings in the general category of Farming in Illinois and not quite as good as general Farming category earnings nationally.
There are twelve schools of higher education in the Rockford area, including one within twenty-five miles of Rockford where you can get a degree to start your career as an agricultural equipment operator. The most common level of education for agricultural equipment operators is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be an agricultural equipment operator if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Agricultural Equipment Operator
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 Rockford include:
- 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.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Rockford, Illinois
Rockford is situated in Winnebago County, Illinois. It has a population of over 157,272, which has grown by 4.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Rockford, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Rockford are valued at $125,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-four new homes were built in Rockford, down from one hundred fifty-seven the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Rockford are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is metal and metal products, construction, and machinery. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.8% of Rockford residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.1%, is lower than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Rockford is 17.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.
The percentage of Rockford residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.0%, is less than both the national and state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, South Park Covenant Church and Souls Harbor Church are among the churches located in Rockford. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.
Rockford is home to the McPhail Hall and the Mary McGaw Hall as well as Ken-Rock Park and Jamestown Park. Shopping malls in the area include Alpine Village Shopping Center, Eleventh Street Plaza Shopping Center and Fairview Shopping Center. Visitors to Rockford can choose from Extended Stay America - Rockford East, Courtyard Rockford and Hampton Inn Rockford for temporary stays in the area.