Earning an online associate in agriculture can lead to careers in agricultural sales and merchandising, livestock management, and agribusiness. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers earn a median annual salary of $71,160.
This guide explores some of the best online associate in agriculture programs, covering topics like common courses, admission requirements, and potential career paths.
What Are the Best Agriculture Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top Five:
|1||Northwest Iowa Community College||Sheldon, IA|
|2||Northeast Community College||Norfolk, NE|
|3||Allen Community College||Iola, KS|
|4||Casper College||Casper, WY|
|5||Holmes Community College||Goodman, MS|
Core courses in an agriculture associate program often cover topics like soil science, biology, and agricultural management. As such, graduates can pursue careers in fields related to farming, food science, and agricultural technology.
According to the BLS, the annual median wage among agriculture and food science technicians is $41,230. These positions are projected to grow by 6% between 2018 and 2028.
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2020 Best Accredited Online Associate in Agriculture Programs
Northwest Iowa Community College
|Sheldon, IA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 65%||
NCC graduates boast an employment rate of nearly 100%. The college oversees a campus in Sheldon and an online division. Students can choose from more than 40 undergraduate programs, including 12 available online or in a hybrid format.
The online associate in agriculture at NCC allows students to tailor their program by choosing from a variety of agriculture electives. Core classes explore topics like fundamentals of soil science, farm business management, and animal health. Students may also opt to take part in occupational experiences.
The AAS in agriculture spans two years and five semesters, including one summer term. NCC offers all online learners the same tuition, regardless of their state of residence. NCC offers many virtual resources, including academic advising, library access, and tutoring services.
Northeast Community College
|Norfolk, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 48%||
Northeast comprises four campuses across Nebraska and an online division. The college enrolls more than 5,000 students in nearly 100 undergraduate, professional, and certificate programs, including more than 20 online options.
Northeast's online associate in agriculture programs is suitable for learners who plan to pursue a bachelor's degree. Participants may complete an online AA or AS in agriculture. Enrollees in this agriculture college-transfer program choose from electives like agricultural law, animal science, and agricultural marketing systems.
The online associate degree in agriculture at Northeast fulfills the first two years of course requirements of a bachelor's degree. Support resources for online learners include academic advising, counseling, and career services. Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores.
Allen Community College
|Iola, KS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 38%||
Comprising Kansas campuses in Burlingame and Iola, along with an online division, Allen offers associate degrees and certificate programs in more than 60 areas. Students can choose to study on campus or online for nearly all undergraduate programs.
Allen offers an online associate of science with an emphasis in agriculture and natural resources. This program consists of 64 credits, and the curriculum explores topics like crop science, agricultural economics, and animal science and industry. Allen also offers an associate degree in agribusiness.
Allen charges the same per-credit tuition rate to all online students. Distance learners receive support through an online student resource center and a writing lab.
|Casper, WY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
Established in 1945 as Wyoming's first junior college, Casper is currently one of the largest two-year schools in the region. Casper enrolls nearly 5,000 students and offers more than 140 programs on campus and online.
Casper offers an online associate in agriculture; participants choose an emphasis in animal science, agribusiness, general agriculture, or range management. The 60-credit program takes two years to complete and fulfills the first two years of course requirements of a bachelor's program. Casper maintains transfer agreements with several four-year schools.
Core courses explore topics like agroecology, livestock production, and agricultural economics. Distance learners can pursue membership in Casper's student organizations, including the Oil City Ag Club, the Livestock Judging Club, and the Casper College Rodeo Club. Applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores for admission consideration.
Holmes Community College
|Goodman, MS||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 35%||
As one of 14 members of the Mississippi Virtual Community College system, Holmes offers its AA and AAS degrees online. Holmes also oversees four physical campuses throughout Mississippi.
The college offers an online associate degree in agriculture. This 64-credit program spans four semesters over two years, satisfying general education requirements and prerequisites for a bachelor's degree. The curriculum includes core and elective courses in topics like plant science, general chemistry, and principles of agricultural economics.
Holmes accepts applications on a rolling basis throughout the year and admits distance students in the fall and spring. Applicants under the age of 21 must submit ACT or SAT scores for admission consideration.
Online Associate in Agriculture Program Overview
The best online associate in agriculture programs prepare graduates to pursue entry-level agriculture jobs or to enroll in four-year programs in a related field.
The curriculum of online associate degrees in agriculture typically include coursework in soil science, agricultural marketing, farming, chemistry, and animal science. Programs may also feature popular career concentrations, such as sustainable farming, agricultural technology, and agribusiness. Some agriculture students can find internship opportunities through their school, gaining practical experience at a local facility.
Most jobs in agriculture do not require more than an associate degree for entry-level employment. Therefore, many students in this field choose not to earn a bachelor's degree.
Learners who do pursue a four-year degree may aspire to own and operate a large-scale corporate or industrial farm; these students may be interested in a concentration like agricultural economics. Individuals can also prepare for advanced research positions by earning a degree in agricultural biology.
Common Associate in Agriculture Degree Courses
- Agriculture and Food Management
This course teaches students the skills needed to work in agriculture and food management careers, including those related to information management and financial analysis.
- Principles of Soil Science
This course introduces students to the principles of soil science, including the impact of humans on soil and the chemical, biological, and physical properties of soil. Students develop a broad understanding of the importance of soil science applications in water purification, agricultural engineering, and sustainable agriculture.
- Farm Implements
This course explores common farm implements used by farmers, ranchers, and agricultural industries. Students learn how to operate, maintain, adjust, and calibrate different pieces of farm equipment.
- Ecosystem Science
This course explores the ways in which organisms interact with their environment, typically drawing on core principles of the natural and physical sciences. Many programs also examine subjects like sustainability and environmental science, considering both micro-environments and macro-environments from a global perspective.
- AG Safety and Health
Crucial for all aspiring agricultural workers, AG safety and health coursework outlines common risks associated with day-to-day labor in the field. This class explores hazards like livestock behavior, pesticides, heavy machinery, and maneuvering in controlled spaces. Students learn about preventive and corrective strategies and maintenance.
Online Associate in Agriculture Admission Requirements
High School Diploma
A high school diploma (or the equivalent) is a common requirement for first-year students. Meeting this requirement demonstrates to colleges that an applicant is prepared for college-level coursework.
Some online associate in agriculture programs require applicants to submit a resume or statement of purpose with their application. Schools that use a more holistic admissions process account for an applicant's resume along with their academic qualifications. A statement of purpose can help an admissions office better understand why a student wants to pursue an agriculture major.
A minimum GPA is a common admission requirement for online associate in agriculture programs. While minimum requirements vary by school and program, a 2.0 GPA is a typical cutoff.
ACT or SAT Scores
Some schools allow students to decide which test scores to submit, while others indicate a preference. Some colleges set a minimum score requirement on the ACT or SAT, while others do not require standardized test scores at all.
Online associate in agriculture programs do not typically require prerequisite coursework specific to agriculture. However, some schools require students to have completed general introductory college courses in subjects like math and English; students who do not meet these requirements may need to take placement tests prior to enrolling.
Online Associate in Agriculture Career Paths
Students who earn an online associate in agriculture qualify for a variety of careers in the field. Many jobs — from entry-level to more advanced positions — only require an associate degree.
In agriculture, workers often advance their careers by gaining experience instead of by earning a more advanced degree. Graduates may begin as agricultural workers to accumulate field experience before pursuing careers as farmers, ranchers, agricultural managers, and agricultural and food science technicians.
Additionally, some professionals choose to pursue certification as an accredited farm manager.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What can you do with an associate degree in agriculture?
Earning an associate degree in agriculture can lead to careers in farming, livestock and agricultural management, and merchandising and marketing in the field. Associate degrees in agriculture may offer diverse concentration options, allowing students to tailor coursework to match their interests.
- How long does it take to get an agriculture degree?
It takes most students two years to earn an associate degree in agriculture. However, some programs offer accelerated delivery methods that can speed up this timeline.
- Is an agriculture degree worth it?
Agriculture degrees offer a variety of specializations, preparing students for many positions in the field. Workers who gain experience and assume managerial roles can take home salaries that are well above the national average for all occupations.
- What are the highest-paying jobs in agriculture?
Graduates with an associate degree in agriculture may qualify for advanced positions as farmers, ranchers, and agricultural managers, earning more than $70,000 per year. Agricultural engineers need a bachelor's degree and specialized experience, but these workers top the list of earners in the field, taking home median wages of more than $80,000.
- How much does an agriculture major make?
An individual's potential earnings depend on many variables, including their location, education, and area of agricultural expertise. Many agricultural workers in entry-level positions earn median salaries between $25,000 and $30,000, while agricultural and food science technicians typically earn more than $40,000 per year.
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