A soil scientist evaluates the quality and composition of soil for the health of humans and other life. These scientists often work in the agricultural field and may be tasked with figuring out how to better grow plants or solve growth problems that have arisen. Other tasks performed by soil scientists may include providing advice on how nutrients and water supply should be changed, as well as evaluating erosion risks for sites depending on the type and quality of soil. Construction projects may require the aid of a soil scientist to provide advice on what sort of impact the soil will have on structures.
This job usually involves both office and field work. When working in an office, the soil scientist performs research and data analysis, as well as prepares reports. Field work has physical requirements such as the ability to walk over rough terrain for prolonged durations, tolerate exposure to extreme heat and cold, and bend and stoop. Travel may be required to carry out field work.
Usually, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, biology or a related field is needed for soil scientist positions; some jobs require a master’s or doctoral degree as well. Previous experience in soil science is often required or preferred.
Soil Scientist Tasks
Write up and explain results, providing context and recommendations.
Collect and analyze data, validating and verifying findings.
Work with stakeholders to identify remediation and improvement actions, educating to ensure compliance.
Define data collection and analysis methodologies and document goals.
Answer questions, explain implications and inform decision-makers about soil status.