Soil science is more than simply the study of soil. This discipline focuses on the improvement of soil conditions for agricultural management and the conservation of natural resources. If you're interested in soil science, read on to learn about educational and career options in the field.
Inside Soil Science
Soil is a complex composite of minerals and organic matter that forms over the surface of land. Soil scientists research and monitor the properties of soils, including their physical attributes, biological composition and chemical makeup. Soil scientists use their findings to help solve a wide range of soil management issues. They might, for example, determine the best crops to grow in a specific soil at a given place and time. Soil scientists might also work to replenish endangered ecosystems by finding ways to increase soil fertility.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that entry-level positions in soil science typically entail bachelor's degrees in agricultural science, soil science or another relevant major (www.bls.gov). In addition to coursework in math and the natural sciences, soil science students may take courses in soil conservation and fertility, entomology, agronomy and crop physiology. Advanced positions in the field, such as in research or academic roles, typically require a graduate degree. Depending on the state, soil scientists may be required to obtain state licensure.
Soil scientists often work for manufacturing companies, government agricultural departments and research laboratories. A large number of soil scientists are self-employed consultants. Employment of soil and plant scientists was expected to increase 15% from 2008-2018, according to the bureau. This growth will be an effect of the demand for increased agricultural production.
In May 2010, the BLS reported that the middle half of soil and plant scientists earned $44,390-$74,630 annually. The scientific development and research industries employed the highest number of these scientists and offered on average $69,140 per year. Following closely behind, colleges, universities and professional institutes hired the second highest number of soil scientists and paid on average $53,110 per year. The highest paying soil scientists worked in the agricultural chemical manufacturing industry, earning on average of $84,160 per year.
Learn More About Soil Science
Soil science education prepares students to analyze and interpret data on soil conditions, as well as to formulate solutions for soil conservation and agricultural use. Education-Portal.com has the resources you need to choose a career path and an education that can lead to that career.
Soil scientists generally have bachelor's degrees in soil science or a related field, such as soil conservation, agriculture or geotechnical engineering. Graduate degree programs are also available for those wishing to pursue career advancement. Below are some articles that can help you choose the right education for you.
- Soil Science Degrees by Level
- Soil Conservation Degrees and Certificates
- Geotechnical Engineering Master's Degree
- Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture
- Agricultural Science Certificate and Degree Options
Soil scientists work in many different employment sectors and fulfill a variety of roles. Whether you want to work in conservation or agricultural production, these links will help you sort through some of the career options in the field.
- Soil Scientist
- Soil Pedologist
- Soil Conservation Technician
- Agricultural Research Scientist
Distance Learning Options
While soil science education generally entails hands-on experience in the lab, there are distance learning options available in related disciplines. You might also become familiar with the field through free online courses in topics related to soil science.
Soil Science Related Articles
- Recently Updated
Soil scientists work under various job titles in several industries, but one of the most common duties includes analyzing soil samples for...
A soil engineer, also called a geotechnical engineer, is a specific type of civil engineer who investigates and assesses the rocks, soils...
Soil conservationists create guidelines to prevent erosion and develop practices for sustainable land use. They can perform land surveys,...
Research the requirements to become an optometrist. Learn about the job description, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in...
Most people probably have visions of librarians as stern figures who say 'Shhhhhh!' a lot and check out books at the counter. But librarians...