Agricultural Education: BS
USU is the only university in the state that offers a degree that leads to certification in agricultural education. The department prepares students to become teachers and FFA (Future Farmers of America) advisors in high schools and technical education centers. Ag teachers can teach a wide variety of subjects, including animal science, horticulture, welding and metals, woodshop, leadership courses, and other elective classes. They receive high-quality training at USU and job placement for ag teachers is extremely high across the state and the nation.
In addition to courses in agricultural education, the curriculum includes courses in technical agriculture areas, including agricultural economics; agricultural mechanization; animal, dairy, and veterinary sciences; plant and soil science; and natural resources.
Students in this program have the unique opportunity to work with mentor teachers starting their junior year. This gives them the opportunity to receive instruction and build a relationship with mentor teachers before they enter the classroom as student teachers. Often, students will obtain a biology teaching endorsement as well after they are licensed as ag teachers in order to make themselves more marketable to schools.
In order to obtain a secondary teaching license for grades 6-12, students must complete the 35-credit Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), which includes one semester of student teaching in a public school. This program is administered by USU’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership (TEAL) within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Student must apply to the School of TEAL the semester before taking STEP courses. This is usually the fall of their junior year. Students learn subject content through the School of Applied Sciences, Technology, and Education and spend the last year or two studying education techniques through the STEP program.
Students in the agricultural education program do not need to have a minor because the program provides students with knowledge in several subject areas, therefore, expanding their career options.
With a degree in agricultural education, students can pursue the following careers:
- High school agriculture teacher
- Cooperative Extension professional
- Ag Literacy coordinator
- Agricultural education professor
- Farm Business Management instructor
- 2-year technical college agriculture instructor
- Adult agricultural education instructor
- Young Farmer instructor
Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.
In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the agricultural education program has additional requirements:
- Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
- Transfer Students: Transfer students from other institutions and students transferring from other USU majors need a 2.75 total GPA for admission to this major.
STEP Requirements: In order to be accepted into STEP, students must go through an application process, which includes the following:
- Complete of 60 semester credits with a minimum GPA of 2.75
- Complete certain core courses (see department for more information)
- Complete a speech and hearing test
- Pass the Teacher Education Writing Exam
- Provide an unofficial copy of your transcript
- Pass a criminal background check (this should be done one semester before submitting the application)
International students have additional admissions requirements.
Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs
National Association of Agricultural Educators: NAAE seeks to advance agricultural education and promote the professional interests and growth of agriculture teachers as well as recruit and prepare students who have a desire to teach agriculture. The organization is dedicated to developing professional pride, to nourishing a spirit of unity among classroom teachers, and to recognizing members for conducting outstanding programs. It monitors governmental affairs affecting agricultural education and assists in the development of priorities and strategies to effect federal legislation and appropriations.
Alpha Tau Alpha: Alpha Tau Alpha is a national professional honorary agricultural education organization that plays a vital role in the preparation of those who have chosen a major in agricultural education or Extension education.
Collegiate FFA: Collegiate FFA is the service arm to the national FFA organization. USU Collegiate FFA members serve the agricultural industry, the agricultural education profession, and the FFA at the local, state, and national levels. Students from all majors interested in agriculture are encouraged to join.
Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers: The USU Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers chapter is associated with the Utah Farm Bureau Federation and is open to all USU students with an interest in agriculture regardless of major.
Labs, Centers, Research
With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.