The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) is tackling a teacher shortage problem. Agricultural Education teachers are in high demand in Nebraska.
“There are some other Midwestern states that have a larger shortage than we do,” Dr. Doug Smith, NCTA Animal Sciences and Agricultural Education program chair, tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Smith also a main recruiter for the two-year program at the Curtis, NE campus.
“If they’re not sure what area they want to focus on, if they like animals or they like agronomy, those are the ones we target, but we recruit from all various areas,” he explains.
Smith encouraged Kara Reimers to switch her focus a few years ago. Now she is teaching at the Anselmo-Merna schools.
“I really like to work with the students, help them through problems they may not be understanding,” Reimers tells Nebraska Radio Network. “To see that ‘Ah, ha!’ moment is very cool, very exciting.”
Students who finish the program at NCTA can get a bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or another land grant university that offers an Agricultural Education degree.
The career outlook is good for Agricultural Education teachers, at least for the next decade, according to Smith.
“From agronomy to animal science to some veterinary science to ag mechanics and welding, the opportunity to experience and teach students in those particular areas exists,” Smith says.
When Reimers graduated two years ago, there were 30 to 40 Ag teacher positions open in Nebraska.
“It was an odd year, there were quite a bit. On average, there are about 20 openings per year,” she says. “The Ag Education field is a very high-needs area, so it wasn’t very hard to find a school to apply to.
Reimers says she teaches business, animal science, food science, and basic agriculture classes, along with advising FFA students.