Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Swortzel, Kirk A.

Committee Member

Franz, Dana P.

Committee Member

Akers, Christopher Ryan

Committee Member

Browning, Ned

Committee Member

Lemons, Laura L.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural and Extension Education

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering


The shortage of secondary agricultural education teachers within the United States is nothing new. Several studies have investigated the supply and demand of secondary agricultural education teachers to fill teaching vacancies. However, learning how to prevent secondary agricultural education teacher attrition is another problem. The purpose of this research was to determine the effect education level attainment and method of teacher certification of secondary agricultural education teachers in Region IV (Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio) of the National Association of Agricultural Educators had on who may be at risk for leaving the teaching profession. Risk analysis was based on the constructs 1) Alternative Career Opportunities, 2) Expectations versus Realities, 3) People Frustrations, and 4) Passion for the Profession. A descriptive and ex post facto, causal comparative design was utilized for this study. The population for this study consisted of 2,125 secondary agricultural education teachers in Region IV of the National Association of Agricultural Educators. Participants (n = 425) were randomly selected based upon a 20% sample size from each of the states within NAAE Region IV. Potential participants were emailed invitations to participate as well as an active link to the survey through Qualtrics® program. A final sample size (n = 137) was used once missing and incomplete data were removed leaving a 33.3% response rate. Data analysis revealed that secondary agricultural education teachers in the sample were primarily male (61%), most often held a Bachelor’s plus degree (28%) as the highest level of education obtained, were traditionally certified (87.6%) and taught an average of 11.7 years. Seventyive percent of respondents were married. The results indicated the Expectations versus Realities construct as having the highest attrition risk means followed by Alternative Career Opportunities, People Frustrations, and Passion for the Profession. There were no differences found for the overall attrition risk and four constructs when comparing traditionally and alternatively certified secondary agricultural education teachers. Additionally, no differences were found in overall attrition risk scores and the four construct scores among educational levels for secondary agricultural education teachers in Region IV.