Soil scientists study soil characteristics, map soil types and investigate responses of soils under certain conditions. Soil scientists study the chemical composition, structure, and properties of soil and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. Some personal qualities of soil scientists include being practical; working well in a team and as an individual; being analytical; having strong communication, writing, planning and organizing skills; and problem solving.
What Responsibilities Will I Have?:
- Research or study soil characteristics, map soil types and investigate responses of soils to known management practices
- Provide advice on rural or urban land use
- Perform chemical analysis on micro-organism content of soil
- Investigate responses of specific soil types to soil management practices
- Conduct experiments on farms or experimental stations to determine best soil types for different plants
- Initiate and implement research and development programs for soil research
- Prepare documented proposals and successfully establish research trials
- Communicate with relevant industry sectors and initiate well targeted research projects
- Meet the company requirements for trial planning and operation of research projects
- Manage trial establishment and collection of data
- Budget for research work and provide management reporting in regard to trial/research progress
Recommended High School Courses:
The following high school courses are recommended: agricultural education, a focus on science (particularly earth science, chemistry and biology) and mathematics and physics.
A bachelor’s degree in chemistry, crop science, soil science, biology or a related field, such as horticulture, plant physiology or environmental science is required to become a soil scientist. There are some positions, especially those that are more research-driven, that require a master’s or doctorate degree. Those degrees, along with experience, are needed for more administrative level positions in the field.