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Career and Education Opportunities for Agricultural Equipment Operators in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

If you want to be an agricultural equipment operator, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,570 working agricultural equipment operators in Iowa; this should grow by 10% to 1,720 working agricultural equipment operators in the state by 2016. Agricultural equipment operators generally drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops.

Agricultural equipment operators earn about $12 per hour or $25,740 yearly on average in Iowa and about $10 hourly or $22,710 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for agricultural equipment operators are better than earnings in the general category of Farming in Iowa and not quite as good as general Farming category earnings nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can study to be an agricultural equipment operator, among thirteen schools of higher education total in the Cedar Rapids area. 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 studying to be 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 Cedar Rapids include:

  • Animal Breeder. Breed animals, including cattle, or pet birds. Select and breed animals according to their genealogy, characteristics, and offspring. May require a knowledge of artificial insemination techniques and equipment use. May involve keeping records on heats, birth intervals, or pedigree.
  • 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.
  • Food Grader. Grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, or condition.
  • Greenhouse Assistant. Work in nursery facilities or at customer location planting, cultivating, and transplanting trees, shrubs, or plants.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Agricultural Equipment Operator Training

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has an associate's degree program in Agricultural Power Machinery Operation which graduated thirteen students in 2008.

LICENSES

Manure Applicator, Confinement

Licensing agency: Pesticide Bureau
Address: Wallace State Office Building, E 9th & Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319-0051

Phone: (515) 281-4339
Website: Pesticide Bureau

Manure Service Representative, Commercial

Licensing agency: Pesticide Bureau
Address: Wallace State Office Building, E 9th & Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319-0051

Phone: (515) 281-4339
Website: Pesticide Bureau

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.