Application Help and Proficiency FAQ

Proficiency Awards Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you have a question about the Agricultural Proficiency Award program?

Or, about completing the proficency award application? The answer may be in our Proficiency Award FAQ or Proficiency Application FAQ. If you don’t find an answer in the FAQ, please contact us.

Software Requirements

In order for all of the calculation capabilities in the proficiency award application to work, you need to use the 2000 version of Microsoft Excel or higher. Before starting work on your application, we recommend that you install Microsoft Office 2000 on your computer. (If you’re using a school computer, contact the school’s IT department about updating the software.)

Excel Template Troubleshooting Tips

The proficiency award application is set up in an Excel template. If you are having difficulties with the template, please read our Excel Template Troubleshooting Tips.

Don’t Alter the Proficiency Award Application
If your application has been altered in any way, it will be subject to disqualification. Unacceptable alterations include, but aren’t limited to:

  • copying the application into a Word document
  • altering the space given for responses to questions
  • changing the font to a size below 10 points.

To ensure fairness, all applicants must respond to questions in the space provided.

No Decimals in the Proficiency Award Application
Please round up all monetary values in the proficiency award application to whole numbers. If a decimal point or space is entered after a whole number a “warning” message will pop up.

Directed Lab/SAE Hours Tips

A common mistake applicants make on their proficiency award applications is the miscalculation of hours they’ve dedicated to their Directed Lab or SAE.  In a single year, a person working a full time 40 hour per week job will work a total 2,080 hours. When calculating the hours devoted to an SAE, try to determine how many hours were spent per week, using the 40-hour work week as a baseline. Remember that most students cannot realistically spend 40 hours or more per week on an SAE or directed lab, when some hours each day have to be dedicated to school, sleep, etc.  For more help in calculating Directed Lab/SAE hours: Directed Lab / SAE Hour Tips

Dual Participation in National FFA Award Programs

Members who have qualified to participate in more than one category of National FFA Award or Recognition Activities, e.g. CDEs and Agriscience or Agriscience and Proficiency or Stars finalist must notify their state staff within 5 working days after being selected or certified to participate. State staff will contact appropriate program coordinator to determine if accomodations for dual participation can be arranged. Under no circumstances will the accommodation impact the published schedule, overall integrity of the event or other participants' ability to be fairly evaluated.​​​​