About the Program
Florida Farm Bureau’s industry certification program (AEST) 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 have been 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.
The 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 that.
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. Additionally, industry certifications earned by secondary students are included in the high school and middle school grading formula, increasing their importance to school officials and administrators.
Today’s Industry Certifications
The Florida Farm Bureau Agricultural Certification program, now known as AEST (Agricultural Education Services and Technology), made great strides in 2014. Testing a record of over 1,000 agricultural education students with industry-driven, rigorous exams has been quite the accomplishment.
Agricultural education is at a unique crossroads. More and more educators, administrators, employers, and even legislators are discovering that our programs are providing students with a unique experience – one that not only prepares students for the workforce, but also teaches academics like 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™, putting our students above the rest – college or career bound.
A new look for AEST will highlight the changes coming up for 2015. Refreshed Agritechnology and Biotechnology will continue to challenge our students and prepare them for jobs in our industry. Additional exams slated for 2016, including Animal Science, Agricultural Communications, and Agricultural Mechanics, will provide students with more opportunities to prove their abilities as young professionals. Finally, a more streamlined website and testing platform will make it even easier for teachers and students to take our exams and become certified.