Curriculum for Advanced Applicator Technicians
Advanced Applicator Technicians mix and/or apply pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides through sprays, dusts, vapors, soil incorporation, or chemical applications. These jobs are critical for the modern agriculture industry as they help ensure strong yields for farmers and agriculture management companies. As the agriculture sector continues to modernize and become more precision-based, the Applicator Technician position is also modernizing and now requires greater technical expertise and training. Due to the shortage of a qualified candidate pool, agribusiness organizations often struggle to fill applicator positions. Existing programs at community colleges are designed for either general agriculture or equipment technicians and do not specifically address the specialized knowledge required by an Applicator Technician. The goal of this project is to meet the educational and training needs of this critical sector by preparing highly skilled technicians and creating pathways for educational advancement in the state of Illinois.
The project will create four new courses, a professional certificate program, and a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree to prepare students and incumbent workers for careers as Advanced Applicator Technicians. The creation of these credentials builds on previously developed precision agriculture coursework through Parkland's prior NSF-ATE funded Precision Agriculture Curriculum Enhancement project. Additionally, the project will build relationships with high schools and industries, to increase understanding and interest in the Applicator Technician sector, thus contributing to a regional workforce pipeline. The project will also seek to improve the representation of veterans in the precision agriculture sector to ensure agribusiness industries have a diverse workforce.