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LEAP Teaching Licensure Program

Meeting the Need for Ag Teachers

If you’ve ever envisioned yourself working with agriculture and people or thought about inspiring young people in a classroom setting, the LEAP program may be for you.

Licensure in Education for Agricultural Professionals (LEAP) is an online teacher certification program in agricultural education. Upon completion, LEAP graduates are certified to teach agriculture in schools.

What is LEAP?

Offered through NC State, the LEAP program is available nationwide and is delivered through distance education technologies.  The program provides a teaching license to individuals who have baccalaureate degrees in agriculture, natural resources, and closely related disciplines to teach agriculture in school settings. The goal of the program is to address the shortage of qualified agricultural education teachers.

Students who successfully complete the program will receive a class “A” teaching license from the state of North Carolina. The North Carolina teaching license is recognized by 40+ states, Department of Defense schools, and the U.S. Territories. The teacher education program at North Carolina State University is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

Admission Requirements

LEAP is a rigorous program and requires significant commitment.

  • A baccalaureate degree in agriculture, natural resources, or closely related field from an accredited institution of higher education in the United States.
  • Minimum 2.75 GPA on all collegiate-level work.
  • 24 credit hours of agriculture content is required for an agricultural teaching license. If these hours are not met prior to applying to the program, you can add these content courses to your LEAP program hours. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences offers several introductory agriculture courses at a distance that can be taken to satisfy the requirement.
Course NumberCourse TitleCreditsFallSpringSummer
ANS 150Introduction to Animal Science (nDE)3XX
ANS 225Principles of Animal Nutrition3X
ANS 230Animal Nutrition (c)3XX
ARE 201Introduction to Agriculture and Resource Economics3XXX
ARE 303Farm Management (nDE)3X
ARE 304Agribusiness Management3XXX
CS 213Crop Science (a)3XX
ENT 201Insects and People3XXX
ENT 212Basic Entomology1XX
FS 201Introduction to Food Science3XXX
FS 250Basics of Food Safety and Quality3XX
HS 200Home Horticulture3XXX
HS 201The World of Horticulture3XXX
PO 201Poultry Science and Production (nDE)3XXX
Poultry Science and ProductionPoultry and People: Why did the chicken cross the world?3XX
SSC 200Soil Science (b) 3XXX
(a) BIO 181 or BIO 183 or PB 200 or PB 250 prerequisite
(b) CH 101 or CH 100 prerequisite
(c) ANS 150 or BIO 183 prerequisite
(nDE) No DE sections are currently offered

Program Requirements

The LEAP program requires 21 credit hours. Students must maintain a minimum 2.75 GPA in all coursework. (If the courses are to be applied toward a graduate certificate or master’s degree, a 3.0 GPA is needed.) Only courses in which you earn a grade of “C” or higher can be counted toward licensure requirements.

All LEAP students are assigned an advisor. The advisor will assist you in selecting courses and determining the appropriate course load.

Click on each course name to view more information and when they’re offered.

(3 hours). A course in educational psychology is required for teacher licensure. This is a course that is offered at almost any university that has a teacher education program and also at some community colleges. At NCSU the course is EDP 304; however, the number of seats in the online section is often limited. You can complete this course at any institution, as long as it transfers to NC State University as educational psychology. If you are not sure, contact faculty in the AEE Program at NC State. Many of our students have also taken the course PSY 263 at Community College or PSYC 2060 through Louisiana State University Continuing Education to meet this requirement.  Please be aware that courses such as Introduction to Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, or Adolescent Development do not meet this requirement. 

(3 hours – offered in Summer). This course examines the role, mission, structure, and organization of agricultural education as it operates in the public school system. The University of Delaware aided in the development of this course. This course is usually taught every fall and summer.

(3 hours – offered in Fall). Techniques for instructing students is the focal point of this course. Testing, grading, student management and other related topics are also covered. Faculty at the University of Arizona and Washington State University assisted in the development of this course. This is one of the first courses people who have been employed to teach agriculture should take.

(3 hours – offered in Spring). One of the major responsibilities of the agricultural teacher is to develop the leadership potential of young people through the FFA program. This course teaches how to operate and manage the FFA program. University of Missouri faculty assisted in developing this course. This course is taught every spring semester.

(3 hours – offered in Fall). Experiential learning is a hallmark of agricultural education. Students in this course learn how to involve students in supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs. Fort Valley State University was involved in the design of this course. This course is taught every fall semester.

(3 hours each – 524 offered in Spring, 529 offered in Fall). Principles of program planning applied to educational programs about agriculture; theory and field experiences in planning, organizing, and evaluating secondary agricultural education programs; development of plans for conducting all aspects of the complete agricultural education program.

(3 hours – offered in Spring). Successfully complete a teaching internship in a school under the direction and guidance of an experienced teacher. Distance education technologies such as Skype and Google Talk are used to observe teaching and to conference with the students. There may also be live observations from NCSU faculty members. This course is available in the fall and spring but should be completed after you have taken the majority of the other courses. You will spend eight weeks in a school observing and teaching. For people who are hired to teach on a provisional or emergency teaching certificate, this requirement can be done on-the-job in the school in which you are employed. For those not teaching, we will help you locate a school and make arrangements for this experience.

The five core AEE/AEHS courses are all web-based. Students need access to the internet and a computer that can handle streaming video and audio. Students will also need a word processing program and PowerPoint.

Program Costs

LEAP students pay tuition at North Carolina State University. Visit the Student Services website for current distance education course fees.  Students who are in the LEAP program and take two courses a semester may qualify for federal loans and other financial aid.

Ag teachers are in
high demand

The LEAP certification program helps meet the significant need for qualified Ag teachers.

Applying to the LEAP Program

Applying and enrolling in LEAP is a two-stage process.

Stage 1

Email transcripts of your academic work to Desiree Mallon (unofficial copies are OK). We will create a LEAP plan list of the coursework you have credit for and the remaining required coursework needed for your licensure.

Stage 2

You must apply for admission to NC State University.

You have three pathways for completing the LEAP coursework at NC State:

The graduate certificate is a formal graduate program. You will need to complete a Graduate School application online. In the “Application and Test Information” section, click on “Graduate Certificate,” and then select “Graduate Certificate: Agricultural and Extension Education.” With this option, you will be recognized as a student in our department and will be assigned an advisor. Upon completion, you will also receive a certificate from NC State. Note that Graduate Certificate students register for classes after degree-seeking students, but before NDS students. Note: The AEE graduate certificate requires 15 graduate-level credit hours and must be completed within four years. You must have an undergraduate degree prior to application review. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required for admission to the Graduate School.

Visit the Office of Registration and Records website for more information about enrolling in Non-Degree Studies. NDS students do not receive priority in enrolling in courses and do not qualify for financial aid. NDS students are limited to two courses per semester. Note: This route is ideal for students who have less than 15 credit hours needed to complete LEAP, cannot complete the program within four years, or whose GPA is below the Graduate School’s 3.0 minimum.

The application process for a master’s degree in Agricultural and Extension Education is the same as for the graduate certificate program, but three letters of recommendation are required. The MR degree is a 30 graduate-level credit hour program that must be completed within six years. This option is ideal for students who are already considering earning a master’s degree. A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is required for admission into the Graduate School.

Stage 3

After admission to the university, students work with their LEAP advisor to register for classes.

Note: A student can enroll in non-degree studies or the graduate certificate program and then apply to the AEE master’s program at a later date. A total of twelve (12) credit hours taken as NDS or in the graduate certificate program can be applied in the master’s program, but only six (6) NDS credit hours can apply towards the graduate certificate program. The time limit to complete a master’s (6 years) or certificate (4 years) program begins with the earliest course applied towards said program.


For questions and more information on LEAP, contact:

Misty Lambert
Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences
Campus Box 7607
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919-515-2707

Desiree Mallon
Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences
Campus Box 7607
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695
Phone: 919-513-2349