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Soil and Water Conservationist

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What is a Soil and Water Conservationist?

Position Description Plan or develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil or water conservation, or sound land use.

Daily Life Of a Soil and Water Conservationist

  • Provide access to programs or training to assist in completion of government groundwater protection plans.
  • Coordinate or implement technical, financial, or administrative assistance programs for local government units to ensure efficient program implementation or timely responses to requests for assistance.
  • Initiate, schedule, or conduct annual audits or compliance checks of program implementation by local government.
  • Plan soil management or conservation practices, such as crop rotation, reforestation, permanent vegetation, contour plowing, or terracing, to maintain soil or conserve water.
  • Manage field offices or involve staff in cooperative ventures.
  • Review grant applications or make funding recommendations.

Soil and Water Conservationist Skills

Soil and Water Conservationists state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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

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

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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.

Types of Soil and Water Conservationist

  • Erosion Control Foreman
  • Research Soil Scientist
  • Department of Natural Resources Officer (DNR Officer)
  • Wetlands Technician
  • Conservation Specialist

Soil and Water Conservationist Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 22,300 jobs for Soil and Water Conservationist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 6.3% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,400 new jobs for Soil and Water Conservationist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 2,000 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Soil and Water Conservationist are Colorado, New Hampshire, and Utah. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, New Mexico, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Soil and Water Conservationists Make A Lot Of Money?

The average yearly salary of a Soil and Water Conservationist ranges between $34,020 and $98,450.


Soil and Water Conservationists who work in Connecticut, Alaska, or New Jersey, make the highest salaries.

How much do Soil and Water Conservationists make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $59,310
Alaska $93,390
Arizona $71,190
Arkansas $70,630
California $75,980
Colorado $71,170
Connecticut $87,710
Delaware $55,300
Florida $40,620
Georgia $69,390
Hawaii $68,360
Idaho $66,510
Illinois $63,840
Indiana $63,320
Iowa $56,820
Kansas $68,910
Kentucky $67,440
Louisiana $61,430
Maine $61,970
Maryland $79,070
Massachusetts $72,200
Michigan $63,460
Minnesota $72,650
Mississippi $54,870
Missouri $57,580
Montana $64,480
Nebraska $65,300
Nevada $61,670
New Hampshire $72,160
New Jersey $85,360
New Mexico $68,710
North Carolina $61,780
North Dakota $64,900
Ohio $55,550
Oklahoma $64,330
Oregon $76,790
Pennsylvania $55,200
South Carolina $56,220
South Dakota $62,390
Tennessee $68,440
Texas $57,990
Utah $63,720
Vermont $55,150
Virginia $75,370
Washington $65,120
West Virginia $50,210
Wisconsin $65,610
Wyoming $71,180

Tools & Technologies Used by Soil and Water Conservationists

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Soil and Water Conservationists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • ESRI ArcView
  • Microsoft Active Server Pages ASP
  • ESRI ArcInfo
  • ESRI ArcGIS software
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Clover Technology GALENA
  • State Soil Geographic STATSGO Database

How to Become a Soil and Water Conservationist

Individuals working as a Soil and Water Conservationist have obtained the following education levels:


How many years of work experience do I need?


Soil and Water Conservationists Sector


The table below shows the approximate number of Soil and Water Conservationists employed by various industries.


Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those interested in being a Soil and Water Conservationist may also be interested in:

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


Image Credit: Lynn Betts via Photo by Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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