Agricultural Education prepares students for teaching positions in agricultural education/agribusiness as well as jobs in agricultural business, sales, service, production, marketing, public relations, extension and research. Students will develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions needed to be successful professionals. The major does not require a minor but many students choose to complete one.
In addition to the required classes, students must complete field experience hours, agricultural experience hours, and state mandated tests for program completion to receive a teaching license. While the UW-River Falls program is designed to meet the requirements for an agricultural education teaching license in Wisconsin, its design closely follows the Minnesota licensure requirements as well. Many students go on to teach Agricultural Education at middle schools and high schools across both states and beyond. In fact, more than 50 percent of Agriculture teachers in Wisconsin alone are River Falls graduates. Graduates have also obtained a variety of non-teaching positions such as:
- Data Analyst, Security Health Plan of Wisconsin (Marshfield, WI)
- County Operations Trainee, USDA-FSA (Western Wisconsin)
- Livestock Specialist, Crystal Creek (Spooner, WI)
- Area Reproduction Manager, ABS Global (Augusta area, WI)
- Staff, Wisconsin State Assembly
- Associate Alfalfa Researcher, Pioneer Hi-Bred International (Arlington, WI)
- Research Associate, Syngenta (Kekaha,Kauai)
- Shed Manager, Hartung Brothers, Inc. (Portland, OR)
- Developmental Quality Control Supervisor,Land O' Lakes (Spencer, WI)
- Area Representative/Type Appraiser,American Jersey Cattle Association (includes MN, IA, ND, SD, MO and NE)
- Area Program Coordinator, Genex Inc.(Seymour, WI)
- 4-H Program Coordinator, Univ. of Minnesota
Currently there is a national shortage of agricultural educators at the secondary level. It is estimated that there will be hundreds of unfilled positions across the United States this year, simply because not enough students are choosing to be agricultural educators. According to National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), the national average salary for an Ag teacher, not including summer contract or benefits, is about $42,000 per year. Ag teachers are often contracted during the summer months for things like county fairs, SAE (supervised agricultural experience) visits, FFA camps, curriculum writing and summer Ag classes.
In addition to classroom experiences, students utilize modern and well-equipped laboratories, computer facilities, three food processing pilot plants and two laboratory farms.
Students have opportunities to gain organizational and leadership skills - some have managed one of the enterprises on the laboratory farm, others served as the coordinator for the annual Agricultural Technology Contest. The contest brings approximately 1,000 students to campus each spring and includes 16 team events covering a range of areas including: agricultural business, agricultural communications, agricultural mechanics, animal science, food science, natural resource and plant science topics. Some events qualify students to participate in state or national FFA Career Development Events.