Career and Education Opportunities for Agricultural Equipment Operators in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 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 North Carolina. By 2016, this is expected to shrink by 15% to 1,100 people employed. Agricultural equipment operators generally drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops.
A person working as an agricultural equipment operator can expect to earn about $9 per hour or $20,660 per year on average in North Carolina and about $10 hourly or $22,710 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Farming, people working as agricultural equipment operators in North Carolina earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Farming nationally.
There are eighteen schools of higher education in the Winston-Salem area, including one within twenty-five miles of Winston-Salem where you can get a degree to start your career as an agricultural equipment operator. Given that the most common education level 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 Winston-Salem 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.
- 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
Guilford Technical Community College - Jamestown, NC
Guilford Technical Community College, 601 High Point Rd, Jamestown, NC 27282. Guilford Technical Community College is a large college located in Jamestown, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 11,289 students. Guilford Technical Community College has an associate's degree program in Agricultural Power Machinery Operation which graduated seven students in 2008.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem is situated in Forsyth County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 217,600, which has grown by 17.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Winston-Salem, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Winston-Salem cost $76,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,032 new homes were built in Winston-Salem, down from 1,706 the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Winston-Salem are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, health care, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 30.3% of Winston-Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.0%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Winston-Salem is 9.0%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.
The percentage of Winston-Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Wachovia Arbor Church, Mount Zion Church and Hope Church are all churches located in Winston-Salem. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Moravian Church in America.
Winston-Salem is home to the Stafford Center and the Dixie Classics Fairgrounds as well as Forest Park and Mineral Springs Park. Shopping centers in the area include College Plaza Shopping Center, College Village Shopping Center and Club Haven Shopping Center.