Publication Date

Spring 2019

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Thomas Kingery (Director), Dr. Paul Woosley, and Dr. Becky Gilfillen

Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science


The purpose of this study was to determine the favorable factors that positively affect the longevity and retention of agricultural educators in the state of Kentucky. This issue was examined by answering the following questions: What are the primary reasons you decided to become an agricultural teacher? Why have you decided to stay in the agricultural education profession for five or more years? What are some of the barriers that you have encountered during your teaching career that you have had to overcome that may have caused you to leave the profession? A three-round Delphi study was utilized to capture the responses from the expert panelists in relation to each research question. The Delphi panel came to the consensus that the following six statements were the most common favorable factors in teachers’ careers: I grew up on a family farm and understood the importance of showing the world what it is that agriculturalists do; I love the agricultural industry; I worked with 4-H and/or FFA youth team(s) and wanted to stay involved in youth development and teaching life skills to students; I find most days enjoyable in the job; I enjoy the relationships I build with students in their FFA careers and SAE’s, allowing me to help them build themselves up more than a regular teacher; Agricultural educators in this state receiving an extended employment compensation. The information gained from this study has the potential to help all stakeholders in the agricultural education community to encourage and aid current teachers to remain in the profession. The study identified unfavorable factors that should be considered for targeting to relieve pressure on agriculture education that could negatively affect teacher retention. One recommendation for use of this information is to use the data in the Kentucky New Agriculture Teacher Cohort or Master Agriculture Teacher Programs to encourage individuals to look for or focus on the favorable factors in their careers. Administering this Delphi study to a group of agricultural educators under five years’ experience could result in data showing favorable and unfavorable factor difference between pre-five and post-five-year experience teachers.


Agricultural Education | Vocational Education