Sources and Methodology

Available Graduates

Numbers of qualified graduates—bachelor’s degree and higher—for food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment positions in the United States were determined from using 2012–13 degrees conferred data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) surveys conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) of the U.S. Department of Education. The NCES data include postsecondary degrees conferred by all accredited public and private non-profit higher education programs in the United States. Graduates are classified by degree level, degree specialization, and selected demographic characteristics.

Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and Environment Graduates

  • From the NCES Classification of Instructional Programs (CIPS) 2010, project investigators and educator consultants to the project selected degree specializations that are offered by public and private non-profit higher education programs in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and the environment.
  • Project investigators and educator consultants to the project used historical graduate employment information as well as personal observations and experiences to estimate the percentage of qualified graduates by degree specialization who are expected to enter occupations in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment employment sectors. Next, the project investigators and educator consultants identified four occupational clusters for the purpose of categorizing graduates with degree specializations into four broad areas of expertise. The clusters are Management and Business; Science and Engineering; Food and Biomaterials Production; and Education, Communication, and Governmental Services.
  • The following adjustments were made to total qualified food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education
    • Reduced qualified bachelor’s degree graduates by 2%. Survey data indicate that this percentage of graduates do not enter the labor force.
    • Reduced qualified bachelor’s degree graduates by 25%. This proportion was determined to enter graduate and professional schools.
    • Reduced qualified master’s degree graduates by 19% to account for those who enter doctor of philosophy degree programs.
    • Included 70% of the nonresident alien doctor of philosophy degree recipients as qualified to enter the U.S. labor force. Surveys of earned doctorates conducted by the National Science Foundation indicate that only approximately 30% of these graduates return immediately to their country of origin upon receipt of their degrees.
    • Increased the total number of qualified students by 3% in each instructional program to address expected growth in numbers of graduates in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education programs due to increasing enrollments reported by the Food and Agricultural Education Information System.
    • Project investigators assigned percentages of qualified graduates in each selected degree specialization to the four occupational clusters of Management and Business; Science and Engineering; Food and Biomaterials Production; and Education, Communication, and Governmental Services.
    • For additional details, click on Available Graduates–Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and Environment Higher Education Programs.

Other Graduates

  • From the NCES Classification of Instructional Programs (CIPS) 2010, project investigators and educator consultants to the project selected degree specializations that are offered by public and private non-profit higher education programs in biological sciences, engineering, health sciences, business, communication, etc., who are expected to compete with food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment higher education graduates for employment.
  • Project investigators and educator consultants to the project used historical graduate employment information as well as personal observations and experiences to estimate the percentage of qualified graduates by degree specialization who are expected to enter occupations in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment employment sectors. Next, the project investigators and educator consultants identified four occupational clusters for the purpose of categorizing graduates with degree specializations into four broad areas of expertise. The clusters are Management and Business; Science and Engineering; Food and Biomaterials Production; and Education, Communication, and Governmental Services.
  • The following adjustments were made to total qualified other graduates.
    • Reduced qualified bachelor’s degree graduates by 2%. Survey data indicate that this percentage of graduates do not enter the labor force.
    • Reduced qualified bachelor’s degree graduates by 25%. This proportion was determined to enter graduate and professional schools.
    • Reduced qualified master’s degree graduates by 19% to account for those who enter doctor of philosophy degree programs.
    • Included 70% of the nonresident alien doctor of philosophy degree recipients as qualified to enter the U.S. labor force. Surveys of earned doctorates conducted by the National Science Foundation indicate that only approximately 30% of these graduates return immediately to their country of origin upon receipt of their degrees.
    • Project investigators and educator consultants to the project assigned percentages of qualified graduates in each selected degree specialization to the four occupational clusters of Management and Business; Science and Engineering; Food and Biomaterials Production; and Education, Communication, and Governmental Services.
    • For additional details, click on Available Graduates–Other Programs.

Employment Opportunities

Estimated employment opportunities that require college graduates with expertise to enter occupations in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment employment sectors were based upon data maintained by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Occupational employment data for 2012 with projections to 2022 were published in the December 2013 Monthly Labor Review. Projected annual employment opportunities are reported for each occupation included in the BLS taxonomy.

  • Project investigators worked with educator consultants to the project to select occupations that would be expected to require college graduates with expertise to work in the food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment employment sectors.
  • Project investigators worked with educator consultants to the project to calculate average annual job openings for each selected occupation, representing one-tenth of the 10-year BLS projections.

For each selected occupation, project investigators and educator consultants to the project determined a percentage of the average annual job openings that would require graduates having expertise in food, agriculture, renewable natural resources, and environment academic specialties. Average annual employment opportunities for each selected occupation were determined from these percentage estimates.

  • Projected annual employment openings for high school and middle school Agricultural Education teachers were obtained from a January 2015 report entitled, National Agricultural Education Supply & Demand Study, authored by Daniel D. Foster, Rebecca G. Lawver, and Amy R. Smith.
  • Project investigators and educator consultants to the project assigned percentages of the annual employment openings in each selected occupation to the four occupational clusters of Management and Business; Science and Engineering; Food and Biomaterials Production; and Education, Communication, and Governmental Services.
  • For additional details, click on Employment Opportunities.

 

Report Series

The report, Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015–2020 is the eighth in a series of five-year projections initiated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1980. While there have been some small refinements to the methodology used in conducting these studies, the methodological structure outlined above was initially determined by Drs. Kyle Jane Coulter and Marge Stanton who conducted the study and authored the 1980 report entitled, Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in the Food and Agricultural Sciences, 1980–85—Agriculture, Natural Resources, Veterinary Medicine.