Dirt Meets Digital: How to Earn Your Online Agricultural Degree Online
Agriculture and online learning may seem like an unlikely pair. However, some of the nation’s best agricultural schools have made it easier than ever to get a degree for this evolving field.
Here’s what you need to know to earn your agriculture degree online.
What can I do with this degree?
An agricultural degree prepares you for many different jobs within the farming industry and industries adjacent to it. In addition to working as a farmer or rancher, this degree may ready you for work in:
- a government agency
- plant and soil sciences
- agribusiness sales, operation, and management
- golf course or athletic field management
- plant nurseries
- urban farming
- crop protection
- fiber or fuel industries
What are the degree levels?
Online agricultural degree levels include associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s. Many schools also offer non-credit or certificate courses for students who want to further their professional knowledge without matriculating in a degree program.
What are some schools that offer this degree?
Here’s a partial list of schools that offer this degree:
- Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
- Iowa State University, Ames, IA
- Utah State University, Logan, UT
- Texas Tech University
- Colorado State University
- Fort Hays State University
- University of Tennessee-Martin
How does going to college online work?
Most online programs contain a mix of material, delivered through a few online systems. One popular one is the Blackboard Learn site. There, you can create a student profile, interact with other students and educators in a virtual classroom, and manage your assignments.
Depending on the school, you may be able to work through the coursework in a self-paced fashion, or you may be required to view lectures at certain times. Many schools have online forums where you’ll be expected to participate in class discussions.
And remember, just because you’re studying online doesn’t mean that you won’t assigned group projects. View them as a great opportunity to not only learn about your subject matter, but to also get comfortable with online collaboration through Skype and similar technology.
Some schools may allow you to complete your degree entirely online. However, some have practical coursework that must be completed in a lab or other in-person facility. Be sure to find what’s required before you enroll, especially if the school campus is far from your home.
What’s particularly cool about today’s online learning programs is that most institutions are making huge strides in ensuring that online students aren’t isolated. Many schools offer tutoring, career services, and academic advisement.
Is going to college online a smart choice?
Yes, going to college online is an effective and cost-efficient way to earn your degree. In most cases, an online degree is the equivalent of the same degree you would earn on-campus.
Going to school online can be a huge cost saver. With no commuting costs and no need to pay room and board, your total college bill is likely to come out thousands of dollars below what you’d pay to attend college full-time on campus.
Online learning is a particularly good choice for anyone who is already in the working world or who is unable to attend school on-campus for other reasons, such as childcare responsibilities.
Can I get financial aid?
Yes. The same financial aid is generally available to all students, regardless of online or on-campus programs.
Wherever you go to school, be sure to fill out the FAFSA (otherwise known as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Doing so will qualify for you federal financial aid, such as grants and low-interest federal student loans. It will also open the door for institutional and state aid. Check out our question-by-question guide for filling out the FAFSA.
If cost is a big factor for you, it’s always wise to start your search with in-state, public schools in your home state. Paying in-state tuition is a smart way to save money on college costs and to reduce your need for student loans.
However, some schools allow online students to pay in-state tuition rates.
Interested in exploring other online college options? Check out our recent roundup of the 20 Most-Affordable Online Bachelor Degree Programs.