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Soil and Plant Scientists

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What is a Soil & Plant Scientist?

Soil & Plant Scientist Definition 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.

Daily Life Of a Soil & Plant Scientist

  • Survey undisturbed or disturbed lands for classification, inventory, mapping, environmental impact assessments, environmental protection planning, conservation planning, or reclamation planning.
  • Develop new or improved 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.
  • Conduct experiments regarding causes of bee diseases or factors affecting yields of nectar or pollen.
  • Develop environmentally safe methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • Identify or classify species of insects or allied forms, such as mites or spiders.

Qualities of a Soil & Plant Scientist

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.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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

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

Types of Soil and Plant Scientists

  • Soil Fertility Extension Specialist
  • Plant Physiologist
  • Microbiology Soil Scientist
  • Corn Breeder
  • Entomologist

What Kind of Soil & Plant Scientist Job Opportunities Are There?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 19,900 jobs in the United States for Soil and Plant Scientists.

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 8.8% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,800 new jobs for Soil and Plant Scientists 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 and Plant Scientists are California, North Carolina, and Iowa.

Watch out if you plan on working in Alaska, Wyoming, or Oklahoma. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Soil & Plant Scientist

The typical yearly salary for Soil and Plant Scientists is somewhere between $38,570 and $115,400. A Soil and Plant Scientist median salary is $63,950.

Salary Ranges for Soil and Plant Scientists

How much do Soil and Plant Scientists make in each U.S. state?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Maryland

$98,880

Mississippi

$90,700

District of Columbia

$88,840

Massachusetts

$86,160

Connecticut

$85,210

New York

$83,530

California

$80,710

Iowa

$79,650

North Dakota

$75,800

Arkansas

$75,440

Arizona

$74,420

Minnesota

$74,130

North Carolina

$72,890

Washington

$72,660

New Jersey

$71,730

Nevada

$71,490

Idaho

$70,940

Alaska

$69,210

Oregon

$69,210

Virginia

$68,660

Hawaii

$68,550

Texas

$68,150

Louisiana

$68,100

Kentucky

$67,690

Pennsylvania

$66,440

Georgia

$65,820

Montana

$65,010

Florida

$64,230

Alabama

$63,130

Maine

$60,630

Indiana

$59,850

Utah

$59,590

Wisconsin

$59,560

South Dakota

$59,200

Illinois

$58,950

New Mexico

$57,840

Nebraska

$57,320

Kansas

$57,260

Colorado

$56,990

Tennessee

$56,980

Delaware

$56,870

Ohio

$56,220

Michigan

$54,800

West Virginia

$53,950

Missouri

$53,030

Oklahoma

$42,430

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
  • SAS
  • Microsoft Access
  • R
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft PowerPoint

Who Employs Soil and Plant Scientists?

Soil & Plant Scientist Sectors

You May Also Be Interested In…

Are you already one of the many Soil and Plant Scientists in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

  • Chemistry Professors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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