About the Program
Agricultural Education Services and Technology Inc. was developed as a result of a need within the agricultural industry. Florida Farm Bureau saw that agriculturists needed a trusted, reliable credential that could be used when hiring employees. As a result, industry-driven assessments of agricultural career fields were developed in the form of industry certifications. Each certification reflects a differing agricultural sector and the skills and competencies necessary for success in that field.
AEST certifications were developed by agriculturists for agriculturists. Whether you’re an employer who’s looking for competent and educated employees or an individual looking to validate your knowledge and experience, AEST industry certifications can help you achieve your goal.
Why are Industry Certifications Important?
In addition to better preparing students for a successful career in agriculture, industry certifications are the central component of the implementation of the Florida Career and Professional Act, passed by the Florida legislature in 2007. The purpose of the act was to provide a statewide planning partnership between the business and education communities in order to attract, expand, and retain targeted, high-value industries and to sustain a strong, knowledge-based economy. Industry certifications earned by secondary students are also included in the high school and middle school grading formula, increasing their importance to school officials and administrators.
Today’s Industry Certifications
Agricultural education across the country is at a unique crossroads. More and more educators, administrators, employers, and even legislators are realizing that agriculture programs provide students with a unique experience – one that not only prepares them for the workforce, but also teaches academics unlike no other subject area. Agricultural education is math, science, engineering, language arts, and technology combined. Students are able to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Together with FFA, supervised agricultural experiences and industry certifications, agricultural education provides a Complete Experience™, placing agriculture students above the rest in college and career readiness.
Since 2011 AEST has issued over 13,000 industry certifications in eight agriculture specialty areas to students across Florida and Louisiana. We are continuing to expand certification offerings through industry involvement and areas of need. In 2018-19 two new certification offerings will be available: Associate of Agriculture Systems and Natural Resources Specialist. As part of the Farm Bureau family, AEST is working to bridge the gap between the agriculture industry’s expanding needs and certified individuals to meet those needs.