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Soil and Plant Scientist

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All About Soil and Plant Scientists

Job Description & Duties 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: What Do They Do?

  • Survey undisturbed or disturbed lands for classification, inventory, mapping, environmental impact assessments, environmental protection planning, conservation planning, or reclamation planning.
  • Identify degraded or contaminated soils and develop plans to improve their chemical, biological, or physical characteristics.
  • Perform chemical analyses of the microorganism content of soils to determine microbial reactions or chemical mineralogical relationships to plant growth.
  • Identify or classify species of insects or allied forms, such as mites or spiders.
  • Develop ways of altering soils to suit different types of plants.
  • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.

Skills Needed to be a Soil & Plant Scientist

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.

Types of Soil and Plant Scientist

  • Cotton Breeder
  • Scientist Propagator
  • On-Site Soil Evaluator
  • Botanist
  • Technical Agronomist

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. There will be an estimated 2,200 positions for Soil & Plant Scientist per year.

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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.

How Much Does a Soil & Plant Scientist Make?

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 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

Becoming a Soil & Plant Scientist

Individuals working as a Soil and Plant Scientist have obtained the following education levels:

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What work experience do I need to become a Soil & Plant Scientist?

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Where Soil and Plant Scientists Are Employed

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The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

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You May Also Be Interested In…

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

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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