Agricultural and Extension Education Major

Learn by teaching.

Agricultural and Extension Education is hands-on education in teaching tomorrow’s agricultural professionals. Graduates take leadership roles in schools, extension agencies, the ag industry, and government agencies, or continue their studies at graduate school.

Seed the future.

Agricultural and Extension Education grads meet the next generation of ag leaders with the ideas and inspiration they need to thrive.

We start you with the science and business tools ag professionals need. Then, we give you a hands-on exploration of the skills, methods, and mindset needed to be an expert educator, including a required 15-week student teaching internship. You'll earn an Instructional I teaching certificate to teach in Pennsylvania’s public schools. Career opportunities for our graduates remain strong in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Agricultural and Extension Education is the right major if you’re: 

  • passionate about working with youth, community stakeholders, and fellow educators
  • interested in advocating for the agriculture industry
  • want to equip students with the problem-solving skills necessary to address global challenges

One major. Two options. Infinite destinations.

This option is suitable for teaching  agriculture with an emphasis on natural resources and environmental science.

Environmental Science option

Lay the groundwork for a career teaching natural resources and environmental science. Coursework focuses on biological and physical ecosystems; social, political, and legal aspects of environmental science; environmental impact management; and environmental learning.

Example Courses

  • Environmental Impact Management
  • Introductory Soil Science
  • Biology: Populations and Communities
  • Methods of Teaching Agriculture and Environmental Science
Prepares you to teach forestry, as well as horticulture, animal and plant production.

Production option

Prepare to teach in specialized areas of agriculture such as animal and plant production, forestry, and ag mechanics. Grads teach agriculture in high school programs, through cooperative extension offices, as industry professionals and representatives, and continue to grad school.

Example Courses

  • Introduction to International Agriculture
  • Ag Systems Management
  • School-Based Program Planning and Instructional Development

Teacher certification

In cooperation with the College of Education, AEE offers a Pennsylvania Department of Education approved pathway to teacher certification. This program leads to an Instructional I teaching certificate to teach agriculture or environmental education in Pennsylvania’s public schools.

Ag Journeys

“Penn State Ag is not a 4-year experience. It’s a rest-of-your-life experience.”

– Abigail O’Neill

Get ready for the classroom, outside the classroom.

Our clubs and other extracurricular activities are a great place to make friends and have fun.

Craft your experience.  

Related clubs and teams 

Student teaching

All Ag and Extension Education students complete a 15-week high school student teaching internship. These are completed, primarily, in Pennsylvania public schools.

Recent internships  

  • Agricultural corporations
  • Community agricultural agencies
  • City zoos
  • FFA – national and state levels 
  • Arboretums
  • State government bureaus

Domestic study away

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Montana
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin

Popular study abroad

  • Belize
  • Malaysia
  • South Korea
A degree in Agricultural and Extension Education can help prepare you for ag education careers all over the world.
This degree comes with exciting work and study abroad opportunities.
As an extension educator you could teach animal science to passionate puppy owners.

A practical, workforce-ready degree—and a college experience you’ll love.

Penn State Agricultural and Extension Education grads are teaching, working, leading, and learning all over the world, right now.

Our alumni out in the world

  • Agricultural education
  • Corporate sustainability
  • Extension education
  • Soil conservation organizations
  • Non-profit associations
  • Public and private education institutions
  • Trade publications

Agricultural and Extension Education Career Options

Harness the power of a truly unique education at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. Here are just a few career examples.

School-based agricultural educator

Ag science educators use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) when teaching high school students about food, fiber, and natural resources. They blend dynamic instruction with hands-on activities to help students develop skills that will prepare them for the workforce or further educational opportunities.

What will I do?

  • Cultivate engaging lesson plans and instructional materials to ensure effective learning
  • Recruit members and manage FFA programs
  • Facilitate classroom discussions
  • Promote and support rural and urban agriculture settings
  • Remain current on agriculture science, technology, market trends, and legislations
  • Manage ag facilities (farms, grow beds, labs, animal equipment storage, etc.)

Ag industry sales representative 

An ag industry sales representative combines science-based knowledge of animals, plants, soils, equipment, and more with industry business knowledge to market products to agricultural enterprises.

What will I do?

  • Stay current on ag trends
  • Provide exceptional customer service
  • Research and understand competing companies and products
  • Consult with customers on specific needs and desired outcomes 
  • Work with vendors to procure desired products 

Extension educator

Extension educators provide science-based education to people, businesses, and communities. They work to create engaging, impactful learning experiences for participants in both formal and informal settings.

What will I do?

  • Cultivate engaging lesson plans and instructional materials to ensure effective learning
  • Facilitate classroom discussions
  • Promote and support rural and urban agriculture settings
  • Remain current on agriculture science, technology, market trends, and legislations
  • Manage ag facilities (farms, grow beds, labs, animal equipment storage, etc.)

Farm-based educator/manager

A farm-based educator/manager oversees all aspects of a farm business, including informal educational opportunities for school-aged children and the general public.

What will I do?

  • Plan, coordinate, and oversee onsite educational programming
  • Communicate with surrounding community stakeholders about informal educational opportunities
  • Coordinate and monitor plant and animal care
  • Maintain equipment and farm records

Agricultural and Extension Education Students in the News

April 11, 2024

Immersion experience offers lessons for aspiring agriscience teachers

Sarah Beaver could have opted for a beach getaway for spring break. Instead, the first-year student in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences dedicated her time to imparting lessons on global citizenship to high school students in Houston, Texas.

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December 7, 2023

Penn State senior aims to create positive impact through agricultural education

Senior Brandon Bixler has packed a lot of experiences into his four years at Penn State. From conducting undergraduate research in Nepal to being named a finalist for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, Bixler credits the support of faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences and the agricultural and extension education major with making his journey possible.

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November 2, 2023

Two Penn Staters named finalists for Rhodes Scholarship

Two Penn Staters were named finalists for the Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most sought-after international scholarships in the world.

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June 15, 2023

'Teach Ag' students in Penn State’s College of Ag Sciences build community ties

Building community relationships is a fundamental aspect of the curriculum for future teachers majoring in agricultural and extension education. The 2023 Teach Ag cohort in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences participated in two projects to develop their skills in this area and learn more about food insecurity across the commonwealth.

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Megan Marshall, Ph.D.
  • Director of Student Recruitment and Activities