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Soil and Water Conservationist

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What Do Soil and Water Conservationist Do?

Example of Soil and Water Conservationist Job Plan or develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil or water conservation, or sound land use.

What Do Soil and Water Conservationists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Develop or conduct environmental studies, such as plant material field trials or wildlife habitat impact studies.
  • Gather information from geographic information systems (GIS) databases or applications to formulate land use recommendations.
  • 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.
  • Survey property to mark locations or measurements, using surveying instruments.
  • Respond to complaints or questions on wetland jurisdiction, providing information or clarification.
  • Visit areas affected by erosion problems to identify causes or determine solutions.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Soil and Water Conservationist?

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.

Other Soil and Water Conservationist Job Titles

  • Department of Natural Resources Officer (DNR Officer)
  • Watershed Program Manager
  • Soil Conservation Technician
  • Agriculture Consultant
  • Conservation Agent

Soil and Water Conservationist Employment Estimates

There were about 22,300 jobs for Soil and Water Conservationist in 2016 (in the United States). 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. The BLS estimates 2,000 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Soil and Water Conservationists in U.S.

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.

Soil and Water Conservationist Average Salary

Soil and Water Conservationists make between $34,020 and $98,450 a year.

Salary Ranges for Soil and Water Conservationists

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

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

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

What Tools do Soil and Water Conservationists Use?

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 do I Become a Soil and Water Conservationist?

Education needed to be a Soil and Water Conservationist:

Soil and Water Conservationist Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become a Soil and Water Conservationist?

Soil and Water Conservationist Work Experience

Soil and Water Conservationists Sector

Soil and Water Conservationist Sectors

Soil and Water Conservationists work in the following industries:

Soil and Water Conservationist Industries

Those thinking about becoming a Soil and Water Conservationist might also be interested in the following careers:

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


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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