The agricultural education major prepares candidates to teach at the middle, secondary, post-secondary and adult levels in agricultural education programs. North Dakota State University is designated by the State Board of Career and Technical Education as the recognized institution for preparing teachers of agricultural education.
Agricultural education teacher candidates begin their preparatory work in the pre-agricultural education program offered through the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources.
The agricultural education major is designed to combine general studies, preparation for effective teaching, and a broad background in the various disciplines in agriculture. Those preparing to become teachers of agriculture are expected to possess a broad general education necessary for them to function as citizens and educators in our dynamic society. Courses in natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, humanities, English, communication and speech will help provide a general education and the skills needed for more advanced courses in agriculture and other areas. Courses in agricultural economics, agricultural systems management, animal and range science, plant sciences, horticulture and soil science provide the necessary background in agriculture. Electives also are available in entomology, veterinary science, plant pathology and cereal science. Skills in organizing, planning, communicating and teaching are developed by taking courses in psychology, sociology, education and a series of other courses in various aspects of agricultural education.
Professional Education Courses
Teacher candidates may enroll in the 300-level professional education courses before being formally admitted to the School of Education (SOE). Prior to enrolling in the 400-level courses, teacher candidates must complete the application for admission to the SOE; attain a minimum of a 2.75 grade point average overall in their course work and education courses; and pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test or meet minimum scores on the ACT+. Requirements for admission can be found at the School of Education website.
Student teaching (clinical practice) is the culmination of the teaching program. During the clinical practice, teacher candidates apply the knowledge and skills acquired in their college courses to real-world classrooms under the supervision of experienced agricultural educators in middle or secondary schools. Faculty members from NDSU conduct monthly on-site visits to support, encourage, and evaluate teacher candidates so that they gain the confidence and ability to join the teaching profession after graduation.
An appropriate background of work experience in agriculture is essential for those planning to teach agriculture. Teacher candidates lacking this experience will need to seek such experience through internships, employment and other means. Cooperative Education experiences are available. A background in high school agriculture and FFA is also helpful, although not required.
Students are assigned to the faculty member in agricultural education who will work closely in program planning and in other ways to advise and assist them. Students are encouraged to seek their advisors' help whenever needed.
Upon completing this program, teacher candidates are eligible for certification to teach agricultural education in most states. Our program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and approved by the North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board (ESPB).
For several years, there have been favorable employment opportunities for those prepared to teach agricultural education. Most agricultural education teachers in North Dakota are on extended contracts and receive stipends for serving as an FFA advisor. Other graduates seek employment in Cooperative Extension, farming, agricultural finance, agribusiness, and government agencies in agriculture, or continue their studies at the graduate level.
Collegiate FFA Chapter
The primary purpose of the Collegiate FFA Chapter is to prepare graduates in agricultural education to serve as advisors of secondary FFA chapters. Teacher candidates majoring in agricultural education are encouraged to participate actively in the activities of the NDSU Collegiate FFA Chapter.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Students seeking financial aid should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or One Stop. To inquire about scholarship opportunities, contact the Office of Admission. The College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources; the College of Human Sciences and Education, and the North Dakota FFA Foundation offer scholarships ranging from $500-$1,000.