NSTMOP: Instructor Information


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The National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Program (NSTMOP) is primarily a training program for 14- and 15-year-olds seeking employment in production agriculture. Completing the NSTMOP constitutes compliance with the training requirements of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Hazardous Occupations Order in Agriculture (AGHOs) law. However, the curriculum of this program can also be used to teach new and inexperienced tractor operators of all ages and backgrounds how to safely operate farm tractors and other machinery. In addition, the curriculum provides an introduction to farm and ranch hazards and risks. When students that are 16 years of age and older complete the program, formal evaluation (the knowledge, driving, and skills tests) and the certificate of completion are not required. Instructors might nevertheless wish to take advantage of these components to add structure to their teaching.

Youth between the ages of 14 and 15 can be certified only by Cooperative Extension educators or by high school agriculture instructors (vocational agriculture teachers or agricultural science teachers). The signature of such an educator on the U.S. Department of Labor certificate indicates that a student has successfully passed all requirements of the training program. Only approved NSTMOP instructors can use the NSTMOP curriculum materials.

Instructor Requirements

To become an instructor, you must pass this course with a minimum score of 70%. Once certified, you will gain access to additional instruction materials, including the instructors’ manual, PowerPoints to help you teach safety materials, and more.

For those seeking to become a certified NSTMOP Instructor our new online course can be accessed at Instructor Training Course.

If you have questions about the program please email Linda Fetzer at lmf8@psu.edu or call 814-865-4582.

Student Curriculum

In its third edition, this student manual provides in-depth information on what youth can expect when working on a farm, safety basics, agricultural hazards, how to operate a tractor, and how to handle materials, among other important topics. This latest edition features updated regulations, vibrant and detailed illustrations and photos, and an improved user-friendly layout, and includes:

  • An introduction to the NSTMOP
  • A program outline for the six modules
  • A driving test layout and evaluation form
  • A list of core competencies that each student should master
  • Instructional task sheets

While required for NSTMOP training courses, this manual is available to any adult or young person who wants to learn more about agricultural safety. To order the manual, visit Penn State Extension at https://extension.psu.edu/national-safe-tractor-and-machinery-operation-program-manual


After the instruction is complete, each student must complete a 50-question knowledge test and obtain a minimum passing score of 70%. Students who successfully pass the knowledge test are then permitted to take the skills and driving tests. Upon successful completion of all parts of the NSTMOP, students receive a formal certificate of completion.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click HERE for frequently asked questions concerning the NSTMOP program. Any additional questions can be emailed to the NSTMOP office at nstmop@psu.edu.

Reviewed and Summarized by:
Linda M. Fetzer, Pennsylvania State University – lmf8@psu.edu
Dennis J. Murphy, Pennsylvania State University – (Has since retired)
Aaron M. Yoder, University of Nebraska – aaron.yoder@unmc.edu