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Soil and Plant Scientist

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All About Soil and Plant Scientists

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.

What Do Soil and Plant Scientists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • 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 investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.
  • Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.
  • Consult with engineers or other technical personnel working on construction projects about the effects of soil problems and possible solutions to these problems.
  • Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.

Skills Needed to be 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.

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.

  • Floriculturist
  • Field Research Assistant
  • Extension Specialist
  • Arborist
  • Plant Pathologist

Are There Job Opportunities for Soil and Plant Scientists?

There were about 19,900 jobs for Soil and Plant Scientist in 2016 (in the United States). 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. The BLS estimates 2,200 yearly job openings in this field.

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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 typical yearly salary for Soil and Plant Scientists is somewhere between $38,570 and $115,400.

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

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

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 & Technology do Soil and Plant Scientists Use?

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

  • 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 to Become a Soil & Plant Scientist

Are there Soil and Plant Scientists education requirements?

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Where Soil and Plant Scientists Work

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Soil and Plant Scientists work in the following industries:

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Other Jobs You May 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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