Exempt Staff Benefits Summary

A full explanation of these and other staff benefits and regulations will be made at the appropriate time during the interview and employment process.

Your questions and comments are welcome and appreciated.


  • All county Extension agents are employed by The University of Tennessee.
  • Appointment is dependent upon the concurrence of a court-appointed County Agricultural Advisory Committee.


  • Salaries are determined by the applicant’s qualifications, previous experience and degree of training.
  • Longevity pay increases begin after 3 years of service.
  • Minimum salary for agents with a bachelor’s degree and no professional experience is $42,000 per year.
  • Agents with a master’s degree and no professional experience begin at a minimum salary of $46,000.
  • For a complete list of Extension exempt staff salaries see the following salary schedule.


  • Extension employees using their own car for business are reimbursed at a set rate per mile.
  • For approved out-of-county travel, meal allowances are provided for a full day or a percentage for partial days when overnight travel was required.
  • Hotel expenses are reimbursed up to state rate plus tax .
  • Additional funds may be available for special out-of-county and out-of-state trips.
  • Funding to help with expenses to professional association meetings (state and national) is normally available if making presentations or submitting posters.


  • Annual Leave is accrued at the rate of 16 hours per month, for a total of 24 days of vacation per year. Exempt staff may accumulate up to 42 days. Any excess above 42 days is converted to sick leave at the end of the year.
  • Sick Leave accumulates at the rate of 8 hours per month throughout employment.
  • Designated Holidays currently observed by the university include: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Spring Holiday (|Friday before Easter), Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and the day after, Winter Holiday (days between Christmas and New Years)
  • Eight hours of volunteer leave
  • Military Leave is authorized by Tennessee law to provide a leave of absence for members of the reserve components of the Armed Forces of the United States for a period(s) not to exceed 20 working days in a calendar year.
  • Other Leave includes time spent for funeral leave, on jury duty, study leave or attendance at professional meetings, etc. Administrative approval is required in some cases.


  • New agents are eligible to join either the defined benefit Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS-Hybrid) or the defined contribution Optional Retirement Program (ORP-Hybrid). TCRS uses a formula based upon your high 5 years of salary and the amount of service you have at retirement to determine your benefit. The ORP offers multiple companies and several funds from which you may choose to invest. The retirement benefit from the ORP is determined by your total accumulations and your age (and that of any beneficiary) at retirement.
  • The University of Tennessee has several voluntary tax deferred plans in which you may choose to participate. These include a 403(b), 401(k) or the 457. The University will match the first $50.00 you contribute to a 401(k) account.


The Federal Employees’ Compensation Act provides for payment of hospital bills and physicians fees for accidents occurring in the line of official duty. Loss of salary, disability and death benefits are also provided.  


  • State group life insurance, optional special accident, optional universal life, term life and disability;
  • group health insurance;
  • optional dental, vision;
  • federal tax savings on medical and dependent care expenses through flexible benefit plans;
  • employee educational opportunities plus a half waiver of undergraduate tuition for immediate family members at UT or Tennessee Board of Regents Institutions;
  • membership privilege in professional organizations;
  • participation options in university services (i.e.- library, credit union, etc.);
  • and reduced rates to UT athletic events for you and your family.

For the full set of benefits, please see the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Human Resources Benefits page.

UT Extension is administered through The University of Tennessee and is financed by federal, state and county governments. 

Funds are appropriated annually from each government branch. Staff benefits are regulated in accordance with federal, state and county laws and are subject to change.

As of: 09/25/2023