The Extension service is the land-grant university partner of the United States Department of Agriculture. Each state has a designated land-grant university. The mission of the Extension Service is to take research and fact-based information to the constituents of the state. Many of the child/family programs developed and conducted by the Extension Service focus on education, problem prevention and enhanced well-being.
Extension agents or educators provide the local presence for a state's land grant university. Agents are working in every county of every state. Extension personnel work in areas such as human development, family economics, agriculture, community development, nutrition, 4-H and youth development. There are some opportunities for individuals with bachelors degrees, but more for those with a master's degree. Professionals in these positions often develop and deliver educational programs, write news releases and publications, and record radio and TV spots.
Extension specialists are campus or regionally based educators who have a distinct area of specialization. While there are a few opportunities for positions at the master's level, the trend is for these positions to be filled by individuals with doctoral degrees. State specialists for extension conduct research, create materials for use by extension agents or educators, write journal articles and extension publications, and disperse information through the media. They frequently represent the University on statewide groups, as well.
For information on position openings contact the Extension Service Personnel Office or the Office of the Director of Extension at the land grant university in the state you are interested in.
Consumer and Family Sciences Education, (extension minor) which emphasizes the creation of successful teaching methods.
Wellness, which focuses on a holistic approach to well-being through lifestyle decisions.
Food & Nutrition, which stresses nutrition and health, and would be useful for those doing nutrition programming and/or working with limited resource audiences.
Communications to enhance written and oral communication skills.
Salaries tend to be slightly higher than the starting salary for a 9 month public teaching position. Consideration is given for other related work experiences. The specialist position would require an advanced degree and additional related work experience.
Agent = $18,000 - $30,000
Specialist = $24,000 - $40,000