After completing the equivalent of his GCSEs at the high school in Meldorf, Karsten Peters gained agricultural experience on another farm. In 1966 he entered higher education and attended the School of Agricultural Engineering in Schleswig, graduating three years later.
The qualified agricultural engineer from Dithmarschen then continued his education at the College of Education at Flensburg, where he studied for a teaching diploma. The budding pedagogue chose to major in subjects close to his heart: geography, sports and mathematics. Building on his existing experience, Peters chose the subject of “Differences in development and structure of bookkeeping businesses in Dithmarschen” for his dissertation, which earned him a distinction. Peters, who bases his academic research on anonymised data, feels that his theories have been borne out by practice: “As early as 1969 there was a worrying scissor movement between healthy and weak businesses. The development of the rural area lay in front of me like an open book.”
In 1969 he moved to a school. For nine years Karsten Peters taught at the primary school in Süderhastedt. From 1978 to 1981 the Burg secondary school in Süderdithmarschen was witness to his professional activities. As an experienced all-round teacher, he covered the whole curriculum. In 1981 he was promoted and took up the post of headmaster at his old school in Süderhastedt.
While pursuing his teaching career, Karsten Peters was also active in local politics. By 1974 he had already joined the parish council for Eggsted (800 inhabitants) on behalf of the KWV (Municipal Voters’ Association). From 1982 to 1994 the dedicated local politician held the office of honorary mayor in his home village, while also joining the Dithmarschen district council, where he was a member of the education and culture committee for 16 years, as well as dealing with construction issues, pathways, real estate and matters concerning the disabled. Four years before becoming a district councillor, Peters volunteered as chairman of the Burg-Süderhastedt parish council. He was to remain chairman there until 1994.
In 1990 the honorary mayor of Eggstedt was already attending numerous public functions as the second deputy district president. On 21st April 1998 Karsten Peters took the next step in his political career. He succeeded district president Rolf Gosau and at the age of 54 took the oath as new chairman of Dithmarschen district council. In 2003 he was returned for a further period of office. After Hermann Glüsing and Rolf Gosau, Karsten Peters was the third and youngest district president to take office in Dithmarschen district, which had been formed in 1970 by amalgamating Norderdithmarschen and Süderdithmarschen.