What Do Soil and Plant Scientist Do?
Career 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.
Life As a Soil & Plant Scientist
- Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
- Conduct research into the use of plant species as green fuels or in the production of green fuels.
- Identify degraded or contaminated soils and develop plans to improve their chemical, biological, or physical characteristics.
- Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies.
- Develop ways of altering soils to suit different types of plants.
- Study insect distribution or habitat and recommend methods to prevent importation or spread of injurious species.
Soil & Plant Scientist Required Skills
Below is a list of the skills most Soil and Plant Scientists say are important on the job.
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.
Other Soil & Plant Scientist Job Titles
- Fermentation Scientist
- Plant Breeder
- Microbiology Soil Scientist
Are There Job Opportunities 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.
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.
Average Soil and Plant Scientists Salary
The salary for Soil and Plant Scientists ranges between about $38,570 and $115,400 a year.
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|
|District of Columbia||$88,840|
What Tools & Technology 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
- IBM SPSS Statistics
- Geographic information system GIS software
- Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
- Leica Geosystems ERDAS IMAGINE
- ESRI ArcGIS software
- GAEA Technologies WinSieve
- SoilVision Systems SVOFFICE
How to Become a Soil & Plant Scientist
What education or degrees do I need to become a Soil and Plant Scientist?
How Long Does it Take to Become a Soil & Plant Scientist?
Where Soil and Plant Scientists Work
The table below shows the approximate number of Soil and Plant Scientists employed by various industries.
Other Jobs You May be Interested In
Career changers with experience as a Soil and Plant Scientist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:
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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