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Soil and Water Conservationist

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What Does it Take to Be a Soil and Water Conservationist?

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

List of Soil and Water Conservationist Job Duties

  • Advise land users, such as farmers or ranchers, on plans, problems, or alternative conservation solutions.
  • Identify or recommend integrated weed and pest management (IPM) strategies, such as resistant plants, cultural or behavioral controls, soil amendments, insects, natural enemies, barriers, or pesticides.
  • Respond to complaints or questions on wetland jurisdiction, providing information or clarification.
  • Provide access to programs or training to assist in completion of government groundwater protection plans.
  • Review or approve amendments to comprehensive local water plans or conservation district plans.
  • Apply principles of specialized fields of science, such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, or agriculture, to achieve conservation objectives.

Soil and Water Conservationist Needed 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.

  • Conservation Specialist
  • Resource Physical Scientist
  • Biologist
  • Resource Conservationist
  • Ecologist Technician

Soil and Water Conservationist Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 22,300 jobs in the United States for Soil and Water Conservationist. 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. There will be an estimated 2,000 positions for Soil and Water Conservationist per year.

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.

Salary for a Soil and Water Conservationist

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

Salary Ranges for Soil and Water Conservationists

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 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?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Soil and Water Conservationists:

  • 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

Becoming a Soil and Water Conservationist

What education is 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

Where Soil and Water Conservationists Are Employed

Soil and Water Conservationist Sectors

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

Soil and Water Conservationist Industries

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

Career changers with experience as a Soil and Water Conservationist sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


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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