Agriculture is an important industry because it is the source of our food. While there are certainly farmers who learn the trade from their families, certain industries require a formal education in agriculture, creating a need for agriculture teachers at the secondary and postsecondary level.
Agriculture teachers can be found in public schools, technical schools, adult and business education programs, colleges, universities and state-run farmer training programs. They teach a variety of subjects, such as horticulture, animal and plant science, agricultural chemicals and agricultural technology. Career requirements generally include a college degree and agricultural experience. Middle and high school teachers in public schools need teacher licensure and specialty certification.
|Career Titles||Secondary School Agriculture Teacher||Postsecondary Agriculture Teacher|
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree with teacher education program||Master's in agricultural education or bachelor's degree in relevant field with a graduate certificate in agricultural education|
|Other Requirements||Public school teachers need a teaching license||N/A|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||0% for secondary school technical and career education teachers||6%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$56,130 for all secondary school technical and career education teachers||$90,780|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Requirements for agriculture teachers vary, but most states require at least a bachelor's degree for those wanting to work at the middle and high school levels. Typically, the degree should be in the field of agriculture with coursework in subjects like agricultural mechanics, forestry/wildlife management and agriculture management. Agriculture teachers who want to work in public schools also might have to finish a state-accredited teacher training program. Most states require teachers working in middle and high schools to obtain a teacher's license and receive certification in agriculture teaching.
Agriculture teachers who want to work on the college or professional level might have to complete a graduate education program. Some universities offer graduate certificate programs in agricultural education for those who already possess a bachelor's degree in fields like agriculture, forestry or wildlife management. There also are master's programs in agricultural education, which include advanced study in areas such as agribusiness, agriculture ethics and agricultural technology. Master's programs in agriculture education often include teaching internships and may allow students to specialize in adult education, state extension programs or public education.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of high school technical and career education teachers, including agriculture teachers, is not expected to grow between 2014 and 2024. However, the National Association of Agricultural Educators indicated in 2013 that there was a nationwide shortage of educators specializing in agriculture, mainly at the high school level. The growth rate for postsecondary teachers of agricultural sciences was projected at 6% for this period.
In 2015, the BLS reported that the median income for technical and career education teachers working at the secondary school level was $56,130. Postsecondary-level teachers of agricultural sciences earned a median salary of $90,780 per year; those teaching in junior colleges earned lower wages, with a mean of $66,000 annually in 2015.
Due to little or no growth in these occupations, job opportunities may depend on the number of retiring professionals in the area. Having graduate level education and proper certification can improve odds of employment.