Agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry. The foundation of a strong economy center is a strong agriculture sector. A strong and diverse agricultural sector will continue to be important to the economic well being of Georgians in future years. Based on the importance of the agriculture industry, and especially with rapid growth of jobs in many areas such as food processing, food service, the environment and ornamental horticulture, there is a corresponding need for more workers trained in all areas of agriculture. Therefore, it is important for educational institutions to provide high quality educational programs in agriculture. Recognizing this need, the Georgia professional agriculture organizations and the Georgia Department of Education initiated an Agriculture Education certification program designed to recognize high school Agriculture Education programs that meet standards of industry.
The Agriculture Education Program Certification process consists of four phases: initial application, self-evaluation, on-site team evaluation and re-certification. Teachers or administrators seeking certification for their program must apply directly to the respective Regional Coordinator of Agricultural Education for information and self-evaluation materials.
The self-evaluation should be completed by a school committee and submitted to the Regional Coordinator. The application must list a local agricultural representative willing to serve on the on-site committee. The Regional Coordinator will review the self-evaluation, appoint an Evaluation Team Leader (ETL) and send letters of invitation for the on-site and to the members and upon approval of the evaluation team.
The certification program is designed to determine the capability of the local Agriculture Education program to prepare students for entry-level jobs in the agriculture industry and/or to encourage them to pursue a degree in agriculture at the post-secondary.
The evaluation instrument is divided into six areas for review: Performance Indicators, Administration, Instruction, Facilities and Equipment Instructional Staff, and Requirements by Specialty Area.
Certification is awarded by specialty area. A school may choose to apply for industry certification in one or more specialty areas (Agriculture Mechanics, Agriscience, Veterinary Science, Animal Science, and/or Forestry Horticulture). On the basis of the on-site evaluation, the program may be designated "Industry Certified" in one or more areas of instruction.
First Steps to Industry Certification for your Ag Ed Program:
1. Contact your Region Agricultural Education Office.
2. Study the Guide to Industry Certification.
3. Follow the Certification Procedures listed on page 8 of the Guide to Industry Certification.