By Christine White, Director, Education Division, National FFA Organization
Each year, teachers across the nation work with students as they begin exploring careers in multiple fields of study. This exploration focuses on interests, educational requirements, individual job accountabilities and expected salaries. Often, teachers and students have overlooked careers in agriculture because of the stigma that these careers only relate to production agriculture.
Welcome to AgExplorer, a new career exploration website launched last fall by the National FFA Organization, in partnership with Discovery Education. AgExplorer, available at AgExplorer.com, is a robust, comprehensive career resource to help students explore the broad range of careers within agriculture.
The featured agricultural careers fit within nine exciting career focus areas: agribusiness; animal; biotechnology; environmental service; food products and processing; natural resources; plant; power, structural and technical; and agricultural education. The website features 235 unique career profiles that each include a description, typical responsibilities, job outlook, educational requirements, average salary, and links to a college and career database as well as a live feed of open jobs for each specific career. More career profiles will be added this summer.
AgCareers.com, the strategic career success partner for the National FFA Organization, worked with industry leaders to identify unduplicated careers in agriculture and developed profiles for each career. AgCareers.com also maintains a database of all two- and four-year colleges and universities that offer some type of agricultural degree; this database is linked to each career profile.
In addition to the career profiles, AgExplorer features nine videos that highlight how each of the career focus areas support the global solution to feeding the world. Students are also able to use the site to explore ideas for an experiential learning project or supervised agricultural experience.
AgExplorer also offers the Career Finder, an interactive assessment tool designed to help students match careers with their interests. The agricultural career profiles are searchable and filterable to allow users to find careers using terms and categories that appeal to them.
Teachers and students can also take virtual field trips and hear from experts who work in the industry. Our first two field trips took students behind the scenes of the Ford Motor Company and Cargill. During the Ford field trip, students learned how a veterinarian’s vehicle was manufactured. While at Cargill, they explored a variety of diverse careers that play a key role in feeding families across the country. Virtual field trips with Syngenta and Zoetis are planned for 2017. Each virtual field trip is available on AgExplorer.com and includes educational resources to help enhance the experience in the classroom.
AgExplorer is not just for students and teachers; the site is open to anyone, particularly those not familiar with agriculture. Accessing the Career Finder requires a login; click on the Sign In/Register button to begin creating your account.
Agriculture can open a world of possibilities, and the demand for professionals in every agricultural area is high. Careers may have you using advanced equipment, creating new hybrid seeds, raising animals, managing people or designing new products and packaging. Whether your interests lie in biology, carpentry, chemistry, computers, the environment, finances, genetics, health, nutrition, statistics or welding, there is a career in agriculture for you! Learn more about which career may be right for you by visiting AgExplorer.com.