Career Profile: Post-Secondary Agricultural Sciences Teacher
Farming is a very important job, whether people grow food or other crops for clothing or other products. Growing a few tomato or raspberry plants can be hard, but keeping thousands of plants alive and healthy is even more difficult. That’s where post-secondary agricultural sciences teachers can help.
Growing crops is complicated. Farmers need to know what will grow in their fields and what they need to do to keep the plants healthy. For example, the Prairie Provinces like Manitoba and Alberta have good soil for growing wheat or corn, but the weather is too cold for other crops. British Columbia and Ontario, in contrast, have the right weather and soil for growing peaches, cherries, and other fruit. Even then, farmers might need to add fertilizer or to irrigate the soil so that the plants will grow properly.
Agricultural sciences teachers can help to make the job easier. People who want to become farmers or to work in other positions related to agriculture often study at universities or colleges to get a good basis for the work. They might study food sciences, animal systems, or other topics related to what they expect to find on the farms. Agricultural sciences teachers can help with advanced knowledge of areas like biology or animal care.
People in this type of work need to know as much as possible about various crops, animals, and other topics. They spend a lot of time working with students inside or outside the classroom or marking assignments and tests, but they might also spend time in the fields, checking for insects or taking soil samples.
Graphic designers and other people with special skills can find work in agricultural sciences, and teachers should also know at least something about what this involves. The field of agricultural sciences is very diverse, and teachers can come from many different backgrounds. For teaching in a university, usually at least a Master’s or PhD. degree is necessary, although some people might be able to teach a few courses without those qualifications.
Besides teaching, people in this job need to keep their knowledge current and to publish their own research. They attend conferences, compile bibliographies of resources on various subjects, and give presentations on their work. They help students with their studies and might also do some administrative work at the college or university where they teach. Sometimes, they might go out to help farmers directly, but usually the job involves sitting at a desk or working in a laboratory for much of the day. The job is not physically stressful, but it can be mentally and emotionally tiring.
Salaries for agricultural sciences teachers can vary from one part of the country to another, but usually they start at about $31,000 and can rise to $106,000. Job prospects are normally better in cities than elsewhere, but colleges in small towns are also possible sources of work. If you decide to become a post-secondary agricultural sciences teacher, you can probably count on having a stable job and a good future.
Agriculture Classroom Canada. “About Us.” https://aitc-canada.ca/en-ca/who-we-are/about-us.
My Plan. “Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Post Secondary.” https://www.myplan.com/careers/agricultural-sciences-teachers-postsecondary/summary-25-1041.00.html.
Payscale Canada. “Average Agriculture Specialist Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Agriculture_Specialist/Salary.
University of Manitoba. “Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.” http://umanitoba.ca/faculties/afs/about/index.html.