REG 05.10.01 – Appointment, Performance Review, and Promotion Policies for County Extension Personnel

Authority: Issued by the Chancellor. Changes or exceptions to administrative regulations issued by the Chancellor may only be made by the Chancellor.

History: First Issued: January 1998.Last Revised: August 11, 2020.

Additional References: 
CALS Website

Extension HR Website

Contact Info: Extension HR Manager (919-515-1382)


1. County Extension Agents have the primary responsibility for planning, executing, and evaluating the County Extension program within their areas of assignment. They cooperate with individuals in NC Cooperative Extension, their county leaders, members of the Advisory Leadership System, volunteers, and cooperating agencies in performing their assigned responsibilities. Their performance of assigned responsibilities is governed by the philosophy, objectives, policies, and procedures of NC Cooperative Extension.

2. Extension Agents are representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and are charged with carrying out educational work of the department. They are also designated as employees of either North Carolina State University (“NC State”) or NC A&T State University with professional rank and faculty status opportunities. Agents co-funded with counties are appointed upon approval of the Board of County Commissioners and/or County Managers, and University administrators.

2.1. Appointment

2.2. Criteria for Appointment. The minimum requirement for employment with NC Cooperative Extension is a Bachelor’s degree in an area related to the Extension Agent’s assigned program responsibilities. A Master’s degree in an area related to job responsibilities or acceptance as a graduate school candidate is preferred.

2.3. Titles. The District Extension Directors (DEDs) will adhere to the following guidelines when making title decisions concerning new hires:

2.3.1. A person may be hired and given the title of Associate Agent if they have five (5) years of equivalency experience and a Master’s degree.

2.3.2. A person may be hired and given the title of Extension Agent if they have eight (8) years of equivalency experience and a Master’s degree.

Exceptions to the guidelines may be made after the DED and Director of Extension have consulted and decided it is appropriate to use a different title than as outlined above.

2.4. Performance Review (PPC&E)

Employee performance reviews will be conducted annually, or sooner if the employee is being reassigned, or if the employee is not meeting job requirements. Performance reviews should occur each year by the end of the first quarter (March 31).

The performance reviews of the agent will be conducted by the County Extension Director (CED) and reviewed with the District Extension Director (DED). Performance appraisals of County Extension Directors will be conducted by District Extension Directors and reviewed by the Director of Extension.

2.5. Promotion

2.5.1    Promotion from Assistant Agent to Associate Agent

Starting with all hires after April 1, 2019, an Assistant Agent is eligible for a 2% increase to base salary after two (2) years of service with NC Cooperative Extension. An Assistant Agent is eligible for consideration for promotion to Associate Agent upon having satisfactorily completed a Master’s degree and five (5) years* of service as an Assistant Agent with NC Cooperative Extension. The Assistant Agent must submit an application for promotion. **

The County and District Extension Directors will review and make recommendations to Extension Administration. Upon approval of promotion to Associate Agent, a 4% increase to base salary will be awarded. All increases are contingent upon the county’s agreement to paying the proportionate share of the increase. Covered persons include Area Specialized Agents. The promotion is dependent upon the agent receiving no less than a “meets expectations” on his/her annual performance review as well as taking and passing a three credit hour graduate level course every five (5) years.

2.5.2    Promotion from Associate Agent to Agent

An Associate Agent is eligible for a 3% increase to base salary after two (2) years of service as an Associate Agent with NC Cooperative Extension. A Master’s degree and three (3) years* of service as an Associate Agent with NC Cooperative Extension are required for an Associate Agent to be eligible for promotion consideration to Agent. The Associate Agent must submit an application for promotion. **

The County and District Extension Directors will review and make recommendations to Extension Administration. Upon approval of promotion to Associate Agent, a 5% increase to base salary will be awarded. All increases are contingent upon the county’s agreement to paying the proportionate share of the increase.  Covered persons include Area Specialized Agents. The promotion is dependent upon the agent receiving no less than a “meets expectations” on his/her annual performance review as well as taking and passing a three credit hour graduate level course every five (5) years. ***

2.6 Provisions for Agents hired prior to April 1, 2019

2.6.1    All Agents hired prior to April 1, 2019 will remain on the prior Title Promotion schedule until such time that they attain the next promotional level. Once an Agent moves from Assistant to Associate he/she will be moved to the new career ladder schedule and be eligible for promotions and increases as outlined in section 2.5.2 above.

2.6.2    Promotion from Assistant Agent to Associate Agent

An Assistant Agent is eligible for consideration for promotion to Associate Agent upon having satisfactorily completed a Master’s degree and five (5) years* of service as an Assistant Agent with the NC Cooperative Extension. The Assistant Agent must submit an application for promotion. ** The County and District Extension Directors will review and make recommendations to Extension Administration. Covered Persons include area specialized agents.

2.6.3    Promotion from Associate Agent to Agent

A Master’s degree and ten (10) years* of service as an Associate Agent with NC Cooperative Extension are required for an Associate Agent to be eligible for promotion consideration to Agent. The Associate Agent must submit an application for promotion. ** The County and District Extension Directors will review and make recommendations to Extension Administration. Covered persons include area specialized agents.

* A Doctorate degree may be substituted for one (1) year of equivalent experience.

** Applications are to be submitted to the District Extension Director no later than March 1 of each year. Years of service will be credited up to July 1 of the promotional year.

***An Assistant Agent who does not attain a Master’s degree is eligible to apply for title promotion to the Associate level after ten (10) years of service with NC Cooperative Extension. The promotion is dependent upon the agent receiving no less than a “meets expectations” on his/her annual performance review as well as taking and passing a three credit hour graduate level course every five (5) years.***

2.7 A one-time $5,000 salary increase will be granted to all Extension Agents who complete a new advanced degree. This includes the attainment of the first Masters or Doctorate degrees. Area Specialized Agents are eligible for a $5000 salary increase with the attainment of a Doctorate degree. Approval for increase requires an official transcript that shows the conferred degree. All increases are contingent upon the county agreement to paying the proportionate share of the increase.