Building for agricultural careers


CURTIS, Neb. – The other day two job announcements crossed my desk from companies in Nebraska’s expanding poultry industry. They were seeking employees with a specific skillset in food production. 

Last week, a recruiter with our institution, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, received an inquiry about career placement opportunities for NCTA Aggie students in beef cattle feedlots and ranching enterprises. 

Weekly, our college web site, ncta.unl.edu, lists student internships or fulltime employment opportunities for veterinary technicians, livestock specialists, certified welders, agronomists, agribusiness managers, and
 much more. 

The NCTA Business Office in Ag Hall frequently posts employment opportunities for our graduates and the public to review. 

It’s evident that many agricultural industries are seeking well-trained, skilled individuals. We strive to meet what the industry needs by being responsive with strategic academic plans. 

Our statewide mission at NCTA is workforce development in agriculture, veterinary technology, and related industries. 

Nebraska’s agricultural industries and the NCTA advisory groups provide us with assistance in developing our roadmap for college growth.  As a result, the college has added several new degree and certificate programs. 

A few of our newer programs for workforce development are:

Irrigation Technician – Two programs focus on the needs of the center pivot irrigation industry, including a 16-hour certificate or a 34-hour concentration. Upon completion, students may also become certified for the Reinke PLUS Certification Program. Or, students may choose to combine their credits to obtain a degree in Ag Equipment Management.

Welding Certificate – A 15-credit hour certificate help students develop expertise in welding and metal fabrication. The program can be completed in one year or less.  It provides students with the opportunity to take advanced courses and also to become certified by the American Welding Society. 

Poultry Production AAS – This Associate of Applied Science program is offered in partnership with Mississippi State University.  The program consists of three semesters at NCTA, a summer internship, and one semester of hands-on experience in classes and poultry barns at the MSU campus. 

Careers with this major may include broiler house manager, hatchery worker, hatchery manager, and egg production facility manager. 

Dairy Production AAS – This Associate of Applied Science program is offered in partnership with South Dakota State University.

This program is 76 hours of college credits, with three semesters at NCTA, a summer internship, and one semester of hands-on work with the dairy herd and programs at SDSU in Brookings. 

Careers with this major may include dairy farmer, herd manager, dairy equipment specialist, dairy field specialist, and nutrition consultant. 

Agriculture Certificate – This program consists of a 16-hour online certificate designed for high school dual credit students, undergraduate college students and current professionals. This certificate enables the student or current professional to attain college credentials in crop science, animal science, natural resources management, agricultural economics and more. 

In total, NCTA provides 31 program choices for students including 11 certificate programs which may be completed in one year or less, 14 AAS programs in agriculture or veterinary technology, and six Associate of Science (AS)  degrees with the transfer option available for students choosing transfer into a four-year
degree program.

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