What Is Extension?


MSU Extension is a part of the land grant mission of taking the University to the people of Montana.  MSU Extension works in collaboration with local partners to identify emerging needs,  then we plan and prioritize work to support those needs. We create and extend resources to serve the interests of individuals, families, communities–all Montanans–across generations, across Montana. 

94 MSU Extension agents and 26 subject matter experts serving local needs in 56 counties and 7 reservations with one mission: to improve the lives of Montana citizens by providing unbiased, research-based education and information that integrates learning, discovery, and engagement to strengthen the social, economic, and environmental well-being of individuals, families, and communities. 

MSU Extension’s Legislative Report details the impact of the work being  done in Montana for our partners and stakeholders. Here are some of our family and consumer science specific impact reports.

What are the Educator Positions in MSU Extension?

  • Specialist- In Montana, we are based on campus in university departments. Our jobs may include teaching in the department, service for the department, Extension, state, and national professional organizations, research that is often related to our Extension area of expertise, and Extension outreach to support agents around the state with research-based training and resources. This is usually a PhD required position.  In some cases, there are master’s degree associate specialist depending on the position.

  • County Agents- Also called Educators in some states, these are Extension faculty based in communities around the state. In Montana, agents are also supported by their county commissioners, so counties get to decide what and how many subject areas they would like to address/hire. Extension agents also take part in research or scholarship activities, but most of their job is directly meeting the needs of people in their county. 

    MSU Extension Agents with Family Consumer Science (FCS) responsibilities will teach or support community efforts in basic food and nutrition, aging, mental health, money management, estate planning, wellness, and other family and community related topics  programs in their community. This position has a requirement that the agent must get their master’s within 5 years if they do not already have one.

  • SNAP-Ed/EFNEP Educators- In Montana, these Educators may be in the same county as an FCS agent but focus specifically on those who may be SNAP or income eligible. They also provide basic nutrition education but have specific requirements around what and who they can teach.  In a few counties, this person is also an FCS agent allowing them broader reach. This position has a bachelor’s degree requirement.

Where is Extension in Montana?


In addition to the administration and department-based specialists on the MSU campus, Extension is found across the state (see the map linked below). Montana has a county system, so many Agents have their offices in or near the local courthouse.  There are also agents serving tribes (FRTEP) and tribal college agents. In addition, there are several specialists placed in MSU agricultural experiment stations.

Map of Extension Offices