Agriculture is a field that continues to maintain relevance in society. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2022, there’ll be a 5% projected job growth in secondary school agriculture teachers and 19% in postsecondary teachers. With increasing interest and growth, competition for positions will be high and it’s important that you have the professional qualifications required to be able to benefit from a teaching career in agriculture.
In order to be able to teach agriculture, you are required to be in possession of at least a Bachelor’s Degree in an agricultural field. However, you should ensure that your degree contains a teaching component such as a B.Ed or a BA/BSc in Agricultural Education. A degree offers you additional qualifications and knowledge that build on any other prior exposure you may have had in the agricultural field. A Bachelors degree also gives you qualification to teach up to a High School level. For advanced teaching such as in a university, you need to take a Masters and higher degree after the B.Ed.
If you intend to teach in a public High School, you require a teaching license, which is issued by the education department of your respective state. Applications for certification vary in each state. Postsecondary teachers do not need one, but it would be helpful to have one just in case. Upon completion of your studies in Agricultural Education, apply for a license and start teaching professionally.
Agriculture is very engaging and involves a lot of fieldwork. Experience in fieldwork agriculture is of benefit to you because it gives you some hands-on exposure. During your studies, much of your curriculum includes fieldwork where you apply theoretical classroom concepts. You could add to this exposure by paying a simple visit to a farm or taking up some work in a specific vacation to increase your manual field experience.
Agriculture is a very broad subject. Some teaching jobs require you to be more specific in your agricultural specialty for instance if you’re required to give a course on agribusiness in the banking sector. In your studies, you could opt to take subjects such as natural resources, production or land management, as electives or specializations. It puts you ahead of the competition while also zoning in on subjects that are of particular interest to you.
Teaching agriculture is not just limited to schools and universities or colleges. You may find yourself teaching on behalf of various organizations that provide farmers civic education, so be open minded throughout your training. Agriculture is a field that is constantly making developments in technology that seek to optimize food production, so you should keep abreast with this new information. You could do this by joining agricultural societies or the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) who provide teachers with a wealth of resources to help them in their job. Furthermore, even though it is not a professional requirement, you should have a passion for the field.
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