Frequently Asked Questions
Purdue Extension offers research-based information and expertise to millions of Hoosiers — linking the research performed at Purdue University to innovative lifelong learning opportunities in all 92 counties.
Our Educators, Specialists, and volunteers tailor programs at the county level to offer practical, relevant solutions to regional issues and improve the quality of life for current and future generations. They also partner with key decision-makers, organizations, businesses, and schools to develop, implement, and sustain these programs, in addition to providing community resources and expertise.
We’re part of the Cooperative Extension Service, one of the nation’s largest providers of scientific research-based information and education. This network of colleges, universities, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture serves U.S. communities and counties in four program areas: Agriculture & Natural Resources, Health & Human Sciences, Community Development, and 4-H Youth Development.
4-H Youth Development
Indiana 4-H is a premier community-based youth program that helps develop and empower young people to reach their full potential. At the county level, 4-H Youth Development Educators work with community partners, develop educational opportunities, and identify volunteers to sustain programs.
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Purdue Extension helps make sure that Indiana remains a strong backbone of U.S. agriculture with a global reach. Our continued agricultural education programs include crop and livestock systems, business management, horticulture, environmental stewardship, agricultural economics, and more.
Whether rural or metro, every Indiana community has the potential to flourish through innovation. Purdue Extension helps local leaders, business owners, and decision-makers foster economic and community environments in which promising enterprises can emerge and existing businesses can thrive.
Health & Human Sciences
Healthy Indiana communities are strong Indiana communities. Backed by rigorous research, Purdue Extension strives to improve the quality of life for individuals and families by providing educational outlets related to health, wellness, family sciences, child care, food, nutrition, finances, and more.
No. Extension Educators are employees of Purdue, but they perform their work throughout Indiana’s 92 counties — working out of the corresponding county Extension office where their position is located.
This general outline of responsibilities is not comprehensive, and it also largely depends on the program area. But in support of the Purdue Extension mission, Educators will:
- Work alongside state and local advisory committees to conduct needs assessments and identify critically important issues
- Develop effective, contemporary approaches to plan, deliver, and evaluate programming
- Identify, recruit, and develop volunteer leadership necessary to help carry out the Purdue Extension mission
- Develop regular, effective communications and working relationships with community colleagues, partners, and stakeholders
- Quantify, communicate, and promote the value of Extension education to key stakeholders, partners, and decision-makers
- Develop and cultivate external funding sources to enhance educational programming
- Ensure every effort is made to reach diverse audiences and provide equitable access to programs and facilities
- Participate in and / or lead teams to enhance the scope and reach of Extension programming
The general outline of Extension Educator qualifications, not intended to be comprehensive, includes:
- Master’s degree (unless otherwise noted) with academic training and/or professional experience relevant to the position’s responsibilities
- Valid driver’s license, with successful completion of a background and BMV check
- A personal vehicle to use for travel; mileage reimbursement is provided
- Ability to work with minimal supervision, including prioritizing workloads to meet deadlines
- Knowledge of, and skill with, computer technology in preparing and making reports, presentations, data analysis and retrieval, email and Internet applications
- Knowledge of basic educational methods and the ability to effectively communicate and teach program-specific material
- Ability to work with diverse audiences and stakeholders
- Strong communication, leadership, mentoring, teamwork, and group process skills
- Flexibility and creativity in the workplace
- Willingness to work evenings and weekends
You’ll primarily help shape youth to become unique, resilient, and lifelong learners who can actively participate in their own future, set personal goals, and practice self-determination. Duties generally include:
- Leading the county 4-H program, focusing on 4-H clubs, groups, and youth education initiatives
- Cultivating an active, engaged volunteer base to successfully sustain local 4-H programs
- Recruiting, training, and developing 4-H volunteers who work closely with the youth population
- Collaborating with community partners to develop and implement learning opportunities in numerous topics including:
- Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
- Healthy living
- Consumer and family sciences
You’ll mainly program dynamic agricultural outreach efforts to help producers respond to growing demands for food, fuel, and fiber and encourage economic development and environmental stewardship. Duties generally include:
- Agricultural education programming with a dynamic eye for how agriculture, natural resources, economic development, and environmental responsibility intertwine
- Offering continuing education to help audiences keep abreast of trends and best practices
- Building partnerships with county and regional agencies, agricultural producers, landowners, agricultural organizations, homeowners, decision-makers, and others interested in agriculture
- Providing expert information resources, and developing comprehensive programming, in the following areas:
- Cropping systems
- Farm business and farm management
- Livestock systems
- Agricultural economics
- Natural resource conservation
- Environmental stewardship
You’ll mainly help influence everyday attitudes toward healthy living, teach people skills on how to live healthily, and encourage changes toward healthier physical, social, and cultural behavior. Duties generally include:
- Identifying physical, social, and cultural health needs within the local community
- Partnering with Purdue University and local resources to plan, implement, and evaluate programs that are sustainable and innovative
- Improving the quality of life for individuals and families
- Educating at numerous point of need through information and programming in a variety of topics, including the following areas:
- Financial wellness
- Family health
You will primarily strengthen the capacity of local and regional leaders, residents, and organizations to build strong, vibrant, and inclusive communities by using research-based education to guide their decisions.
Duties generally include:
- Helping local leaders and decision-makers translate data into new ideas and strategies based upon their assets to foster innovation and quality of life
- Promote 21st-century skills as an essential investment in community development
- Convey how land use, community design, and global linkages promote sustainable economic growth, social capacity, and community vitality
- Deliver comprehensive signature programming in the following areas:
- Leadership & Civic Engagement
- Community & Organizational Planning
- Entrepreneurship & Business Retention and Expansion
- Workforce Development
- Local Government Education
- Quality Places
Please visit extension.purdue.edu/cdext/ to learn more about the signature programs, collaborative projects and data resources used by current community development Extension Educators.
To apply for a Purdue Extension Educator position, visit our Current Openings page, and click on the position you are interested in. Applying through the Purdue University Careers website is the only way to apply for a position at Purdue.