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Soil and Plant Scientist

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All About Soil and Plant Scientists

Job Description: Conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

A Day in the Life of a Soil & Plant Scientist

  • Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the effects of alternative practices on the environment.
  • Identify or classify species of insects or allied forms, such as mites or spiders.
  • Develop environmentally safe methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
  • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.

What a Soil & Plant Scientist Should Know

When polled, Soil and Plant Scientists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

  • Soil Specialist
  • Viticulturist
  • Horticulturist
  • Arborist
  • Plant Breeder Scientist

Is There Going to be Demand for Soil and Plant Scientists?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 19,900 jobs in the United States for Soil and Plant Scientist. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 9% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,800 new jobs for Soil and Plant Scientist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 2,200 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Soil and Plant Scientists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Soil & Plant Scientist are Nevada, Kansas, and North Carolina. Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Wyoming, or Oklahoma. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Soil and Plant Scientists Make A Lot Of Money?

Soil and Plant Scientists make between $38,570 and $115,400 a year.

Salary Ranges for Soil and Plant Scientists

Soil and Plant Scientists who work in Maryland, Massachusetts, or District of Columbia, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Soil and Plant Scientists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $63,130
Alaska $69,210
Arizona $74,420
Arkansas $75,440
California $80,710
Colorado $56,990
Connecticut $85,210
Delaware $56,870
District of Columbia $88,840
Florida $64,230
Georgia $65,820
Hawaii $68,550
Idaho $70,940
Illinois $58,950
Indiana $59,850
Iowa $79,650
Kansas $57,260
Kentucky $67,690
Louisiana $68,100
Maine $60,630
Maryland $98,880
Massachusetts $86,160
Michigan $54,800
Minnesota $74,130
Mississippi $90,700
Missouri $53,030
Montana $65,010
Nebraska $57,320
Nevada $71,490
New Jersey $71,730
New Mexico $57,840
New York $83,530
North Carolina $72,890
North Dakota $75,800
Ohio $56,220
Oklahoma $42,430
Oregon $69,210
Pennsylvania $66,440
South Dakota $59,200
Tennessee $56,980
Texas $68,150
Utah $59,590
Virginia $68,660
Washington $72,660
West Virginia $53,950
Wisconsin $59,560

What Tools do Soil and Plant Scientists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Soil and Plant Scientists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Access
  • Word processing software
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • SAS
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • R
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
  • Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE
  • STATISTICA
  • ESRI ArcGIS software
  • GAEA Technologies WinSieve
  • SoilVision Systems SVOFFICE

How do I Become a Soil & Plant Scientist?

Are there Soil and Plant Scientists education requirements?

Soil & Plant Scientist Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Soil & Plant Scientist?

Soil & Plant Scientist Work Experience

Where Soil and Plant Scientists Work

Soil & Plant Scientist Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Soil & Plant Scientist Industries

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those who work as a Soil and Plant Scientist sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:

References:

Image Credit: W.carter via Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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