Thieman, E. B., Rosch, D. M., & Suarez, C. E. (2016). Consideration of agricultural education as a career: A statewide examination by high school class year of predicting factors. Journal of Agricultural Education, 57(4), 29-43. https://doi.org/10.5032/jae.2016.04029
The shortage of teachers in Illinois is reflective of a recent trend where agricultural education graduates of in-state post-secondary institutions have not met the need for the number of available teaching positions. The retirement of the many teachers from the Baby Boomer generation is looming over the profession, making recruitment efforts essential (Illinois Board of Education Report, 2014). With secure funding sources of higher education dwindling, efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment efforts are critical if agricultural education is to continue to survive and thrive by facilitating a steady stream of highly qualified teacher candidates into the field. The purpose of this study was to examine factors influencing high school student consideration of agricultural education as a future career. We included students in grades 9 through 12 (n = 817) from 56 different agricultural education programs. Within the overall sample, parental support and a student’s report of their agriculture teacher emerged as the most powerful predictors, while noteworthy differences arose across class years. These findings possess significant implications for the timing and focus of recruitment efforts.