Igo, E. A., & Perry, D. K. (2019). Examining the Reasons Agricultural Education Teaching Graduates Choose to Enter, Leave, or Stay in the Teaching Profession. Journal of Agricultural Education, 60(2), 109-125. doi: 10.5032/jae.2019.02109
With half of all school-based agricultural education teachers leaving the profession within their first six years, the need is greater than ever for post-secondary graduates to enter and stay in the profession. This study explored potential influencers on graduates’ career decisions, focusing on identifying potential reasons they chose to not enter, leave, or stay in the profession. The target population was Montana State University Agricultural Education Teaching graduates who completed their degree program between May 2005 and May 2016 (N = 58). Respondents’ post-graduation career paths fell into five pre-determined groups, which were then narrowed into three broader groups: never entered, leavers, and currently teaching. Similar to previous research, competitive salaries outside education, being recruited for another position, and an inadequate work-life balance emerged as the largest factors in respondents’ decisions to not enter the profession. Somewhat contradictory, adequate work-life balance; stable contracts with a competitive salary; and positive student, school, and community connections emerged as top reasons to remain in the profession. Since the most common reasons for not entering/leaving the profession revolved around careers outside of education, primarily the salaries of those positions, it is recommended that stakeholders explore alternative methods of providing supplemental funding for these salaried positions.