Soil and Plant Scientists

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.

Median Annual Wage: $59,920

Education: Doctoral degree (44%); Master's degree (26%); Bachelor's degree (15%)

Projected Growth: Average (8% to 14%)

Related Job Titles: Extension Specialist; Soil Scientist; Agronomy Research Manager; Crop Nutrition Scientist; Microbiology Soil Scientist; Research Soil Scientist; Soil Fertility Extension Specialist; Agronomist; Agronomy Specialist; On-Site Soil Evaluator

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Source: O*NET OnLine information for Soil and Plant Scientists.

More Life, Physical, and Social Science Careers

  • Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
  • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • 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.
  • Develop environmentally safe methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.
  • Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.
  • Conduct research to determine best methods of planting, spraying, cultivating, harvesting, storing, processing, or transporting horticultural products.
  • Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the effects of alternative practices on the environment.
  • Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies.
  • Study ways to improve agricultural sustainability, such as the use of new methods of composting.
  • Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.
  • Identify degraded or contaminated soils and develop plans to improve their chemical, biological, or physical characteristics.
  • Develop ways of altering soils to suit different types of plants.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Soil and Plant Scientists.

  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • 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.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • 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.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Source: O*NET OnLine information for Soil and Plant Scientists.

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