Updates to County Agent Career Ladder Slated for Spring 2019

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We are pleased to announce a new career ladder structure for our county Extension agents. We believe a more competitive salary will help to retain current staff and recruit additional highly qualified agents. The career ladder will allow us to be more competitive with other Extension organizations in the South, as well as public schools and private industry.

Updates begin in spring 2019 and follow a tiered approach that includes several key strategies:

  • We will increase the starting salaries for new agents. Our current formula for new agents takes into account education and experience (accrued both in Extension and complementary areas like teaching). We will still use this formula, while also increasing base salaries.
    The new starting salaries based on degrees held will be:

    • Bachelor’s – $40,000 (formerly $35,000)
    • Master’s – $45,000 (formerly $40,000)
    • Doctorate – $50,000 (formerly $45,000)
  • We will make a one-time salary adjustment to address salary compression and equity issues that will result from implementing the base salary updates for new hires. New salaries will be calculated using a formula based on degree held, years of prior experience, current Extension experience, and past promotions. In some cases, agents will not be eligible for raises because their current salaries are already above our formulaic calculations.
  • We have redesigned the title promotion process. The previous process would award successful applicants with a 6 percent increase from assistant to associate agent, and an 8 percent increase from associate to full agent.With the new process, we will provide an incremental pay increase rather than a one-time increase at the time of the title promotion:
    • After two years of service, assistant agents would be eligible for a 2 percent increase.
    • After five years of service, assistant agents would be eligible to apply for title promotion to associate agent. A 4 percent increase would be awarded to successful applicants. The promotion is dependent on successful programming and continuing education.
    • After seven years of service, associate agents will be eligible for a 3 percent increase.
    • After 10 years of service, associate agents will be eligible to apply for title promotion to full agent. A 5 percent increase would be awarded to successful applicants. The promotion is dependent on successful programming and continuing education.
  • A one-time $5,000 salary increase will be granted to all Extension agents who complete a new degree. This includes the attainment of the first master’s or doctorate degrees.

Salary adjustments are effective as of April 1, 2019. Extension will cover both the state and county portion of the increase from April 1 through June 30, 2019. Starting July 1, counties will be expected to cover their portion of the salary increase.

Our county directors have received the new salary calculations for all county agents that will receive the initial one-time salary adjustment, including agents employed by NC State and N.C. A&T State universities.

We hope you will fully support this new, more competitive salary structure, which will help us continue to employ the most qualified agents to address the needs of N.C. farmers, families, youth and communities.

Thank you for helping to keep our N.C. Cooperative Extension partnership vibrant, relevant and impactful. Please let us know if you have questions or require additional information.

Dr. Rich Bonanno, NC State Extension Director
Dr. Rosalind Dale, Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T Administrator