Education for Agricultural Professionals - Online and Distance Education

Education for Agricultural Professionals

Teacher Licensure | Education for Agricultural Professionals

Education for Agricultural Professionals

Entrance Exam: Not Required

Have you ever thought about being a teacher? Would you like a job where there are plentiful employment opportunities? Would you like the opportunity to work with both agriculture and people? Would you like a career where you can inspire young people and feel like you have accomplished something important at the end of the day? If you answered Yes to any of these questions, LEAP (Licensure in Education for Agricultural Professionals) may be the program for you. 

LEAP is a web-based, teacher certification program in agricultural education offered through NC State University. The program is available nationwide and is delivered through online education technologies. LEAP is academically challenging and requires a serious commitment from those enrolled.The program certifies individuals who have baccalaureate degrees in agriculture, natural resources and closely related disciplines to teach agriculture in school settings.

The ultimate goal of this program is to increase the supply of qualified agricultural education teachers. There is a national shortage of agriculture teachers. Students who successfully complete the program will receive a class "A" teaching license from the state of North Carolina. The North Carolina teaching license is recognized by 45 states, Department of Defense schools, and the U.S. Territories. The teacher education program at North Carolina State University is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

This program may lead to Professional Licensure.


Step 1

Apply for admission into the LEAP program through the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education. This step is to make sure you meet the program requirements and is an internal decision made within the department. This IS NOT an application to be admitted to the university.

To apply for LEAP to the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education:

As soon as your application is complete, we will act on it and prepare a certification plan for you to sign. This is basically a contract that says if you successfully complete the courses on the plan, we will recommend you for a North Carolina teaching license. Because of reciprocity agreements with 45 other states you can then probably use your North Carolina teaching license to get a teaching license in your home state (the states with which North Carolina does not have reciprocity are Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, and Minnesota).

You should complete Stage 1 before you go to Stage 2 unless you are in a time crunch and are confident you will be admitted to LEAP (you do have a degree in agriculture with a 2.5 GPA, will have good letters of reference and show a true desire to become an agriculture teacher).

Step 2

Become an active student at NC State University, using one of these options:

Option 1 - Enroll as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) student by completing the online NDS application. This is the quickest and easiest option; most teacher licensure students enroll as NDS students.

Option 2 – Apply for the Agricultural and Extension Education Graduate Certificate via the Graduate School application. This option allows you to simultaneously earn the 15-credit graduate certificate and gives you enrollment priority over other NDS students.

Option 3 – Apply for the Master of Agricultural and Extension Education degree via the Graduate School application. This is a good option for those considering a master's degree. However, application to the master's program does require the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Important note: University policy allows you to transfer a maximum of 12 credit hours into a master's program.  If you are thinking of pursuing the master's degree, you must be admitted before you complete 12 credit hours or any credits you complete over 12 will not apply to the master's degree. You can still earn the LEAP licensure at the same time as you earn the master's degree.

Plan of Study

LEAP requires 21 credit hours. Students pursuing teacher licensure programs are considered non-degree studies (NDS) students at NC State; NDS students may register for a maximum of 6 credit hours per semester.  Thus, LEAP may take from four to seven academic terms to complete. (However, students simultaneously enrolled in the Master of Agricultural and Extension Education degree program are considered degree-seeking students, rather than NDS students.)

To remain in the LEAP program, students must maintain a 2.5 GPA in all LEAP courses.

Career Prospects

If you have a bachelor’s degree in agriculture or a related field and seek licensure to teach agriculture in a middle or secondary school, this program is for you. LEAP certifies individuals who have baccalaureate degrees in agriculture, natural resources and closely related disciplines to teach agriculture in public, private, and charter schools. With a national need for licensed agricultural education teachers, the ultimate goal of this program is to increase the supply of qualified middle and high school teachers. 

Graduates of this program receive a Class “A” teaching license from North Carolina, which has reciprocity in 45 other states, the exceptions being Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas (though all states can be licensed).

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