Soil Scientist

Soil scientists study soil characteristics, map soil types and investigate the responses of soils under certain conditions by researching the chemical composition, structure and properties of soil. They perform scientific experiments, analyze the data collected and develop solutions to problems using quantitative results (results that can be counted, measured and expressed using numbers).

What Responsibilities Will I Have?

  • Research soil characteristics and map soil types
  • Provide advice on rural or urban land use
  • Perform chemical analysis on microorganism content of soil
  • Investigate responses of specific soil types to known soil management practices
  • Conduct experiments on farms or experimental stations to determine the best soil types for different plants
  • Initiate and implement soil research and development programs
  • Prepare proposals and applications to successfully establish and fund research trials
  • Communicate with relevant industry sectors to initiate industry-relevant research projects
  • Meet company requirements for trial planning and research project operations
  • Manage trial data collection and analyze data once collected
  • Budget for research work and provide reports to management about trial and research progress
  • Submit research to academic journals and publishers
  • Present presentations on research findings and new techniques at conferences and to producers
  • Provide insight to government agencies for policy development

Recommended High School Courses:

  • agricultural education
  • mathematics
  • statistics
  • focus on sciences like earth science, chemistry, plant science, soil science and biology

Education/Training Required:

A bachelor’s degree in chemistry, crop science, soil science, biology, horticulture, plant physiology, environmental science or a related field is required to become a soil scientist. More research-driven positions may require a master’s or doctorate degree. Higher level degrees, along with experience, are needed for administrative-level positions in the field.