Experiential learning in school based agricultural education allows local programs to extend beyond the classroom and into the community in order to develop an individual student’s industry and career-based competencies. An agricultural education program is made up of three integrated parts: classroom instruction, FFA, and a supervised agricultural experience (SAE). Through their involvement in the SAE program, students are able to consider multiple careers and occupations, learn expected workplace behavior, develop specific skills within an industry, and are given opportunities to apply academic and occupational skills in the workplace or a simulated workplace environment. Through these strategies, students learn how to apply what they are learning in the classroom as they prepare to transition into the world of college and career opportunities.

Students with an SAE learn by doing. With help from their agricultural teachers, students develop an SAE project based on one or more SAE categories:

Exploratory

This type of SAE is appropriate for all agriculture students. This SAE activity is designed primarily to help students become literate in agriculture and/or become aware of possible careers in the AFNR career cluster and results in the development of a plan to begin an SAE.

Placement/Internship

Placement/Internship programs involve the placement of students in agriculture, food or natural resources-related businesses, on farms, in school laboratories, at community facilities, or in a verified non-profit organization to provide a "learning by doing" environment. These experiences may be paid or non-paid.

Ownership/Entrepreneurship

The student plans, implements, operates and assumes financial risks in a productive or service activity or agriculture, food or natural resources-related business.

Research

As agriculture becomes more scientific, there is a need to conduct research to meet the needs of a growing world. There are three major kinds of research SAE programs: experimental, analytical and invention.

School-Based Enterprise

This enterprise is a student-managed, entrepreneurial operation in a school setting that provides goods or services that meet the needs of an identified market.

Service-Learning

Service-learning is a student-managed service activity where students are involved in the development of a needs assessment, planning the goals, objectives and budget, implementation of the activity, promotion, and evaluation/reflection of a chosen project. It may be for a school, a community organization, religious institution or non‐profit organization. The student(s) are responsible for raising necessary funds for the project (if funds are needed). A project must be a stand‐alone project and not part of an ongoing chapter project, or community fundraiser.