What is in it for me: Reasons to join the teachers’ professional association
Keywords:professional association, SBAE, motivation, membership
Agricultural Education relies heavily on national and state professional associations to serve School Based Agricultural Education (SBAE) teachers. Because there is not 100% membership in these organizations across the country, it is vital to learn what is holding teachers back from joining and identify the needs of current members to encourage continued membership. The purpose of this descriptive survey study was to determine teacher motivations to join their state ag teacher professional association and identify priority areas for initiatives. Data were collected from 245 SBAE teachers through a Qualtrics survey using skip logic to gather information from members and non-members. Results indicated most members were joining for networking opportunities and professional savvy. Cost and communication were indicated as limiting factors for non-members. Current members identified that curriculum resource sharing, new teacher resources, and teacher retention efforts should be very high on the list of priorities for the association. State association leaders should utilize this research to focus on networking and professional development initiatives as well as opening the lines of communication with stakeholders. Future research investigating demographic differences in decision to join and qualitative follow-up with members who have left may also be warranted.