What Is a Soil Scientist Degree? (Plus How To Earn One)

What kind of degree do you need to be a soil scientist?
  1. Minimum of Bachelor’s Degree in Soils or related field.
  2. 5 years post Bachelor’s, 3 years post Master’s or PhD.
  3. Credential forms approved by board.
  4. Passing of Fundamentals exam.

Soil science is an incredibly important and intricate field of study. It is a subject that affects everyone from farmers to urban gardeners, and without proper soil management, the earth’s natural resources and ecosystems can suffer. This is why a soil scientist degree is an incredibly valuable credential to possess. A soil scientist is a skilled and knowledgeable individual who is tasked with understanding soil and its effects on the environment. This includes the study of the composition and structure of soils, their response to environmental stress, and their ability to support the growth of crops, trees, and other vegetation. With their expertise, soil scientists are able to advise and inform farmers, agricultural organizations, urban planners, developers, and even policymakers on how to best manage the soil’s resources and minimize the potential for environmental damage. With the ever-increasing demand for land management, a soil scientist degree can open up a number of career opportunities and job paths.

Soil Scientist Career

What does a soil scientist do?

Students who complete a bachelor’s degree in soil science can find employment with government organizations, farms, academic institutions, or private food and agriculture businesses. Although their job duties can change depending on their employer, some of their typical tasks include:

What is a soil scientist degree?

Students who successfully complete an undergraduate program in this scientific field are awarded a soil scientist degree. A bachelor’s degree in soil science or a related field like environmental science, agronomy, or geology is readily available from many colleges and universities. These courses instruct students on the characteristics of soil and the methodologies used to research and evaluate this type of natural resource. Some schools also offer graduate programs, though many professionals in this field can find work with only a bachelor’s degree. For some management positions or advanced research positions at universities, a master’s degree in soil science may be necessary.

How to earn a soil scientist degree

The steps you can take to obtain a soil science bachelor’s degree are as follows:

1. Get a high school diploma

Colleges and universities typically require applicants to have a high school diploma or an equivalent, such as the GED, before admitting them as undergraduates. Work hard in high school to earn good grades that will allow you to be accepted into many undergraduate programs. Some schools may also have minimum GPA requirements. Enroll in soil-related science classes at your high school, such as geology or environmental science, to gain a foundational knowledge of scientific ideas. Gaining your diploma can give you a variety of math and science fundamentals that will support your pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in soil science.

2. Take college entrance exams

Most undergraduate institutions require you to take a college entrance exam in addition to receiving your diploma. These exams assess your knowledge of a range of academic topics, including math, science, and reading comprehension. The SAT and ACT are the two most popular college entrance tests. The majority of colleges and universities accept either exam to fulfill their requirement for standardized testing. Before taking the test, find out if any schools have minimum test score requirements so you can set realistic goals. Some high schools offer a course that prepares students for college exams, complete with sample questions and practice exams.

3. Research undergraduate programs

While in high school, begin researching some undergraduate programs. Look for courses at prestigious agricultural colleges or universities that specialize in soil science if you want to graduate with a degree in this field. Similar degrees may be available from other institutions, such as environmental science with relevant soil science coursework. You can get ready for a career as a soil scientist with either choice. Find undergraduate programs that are in line with your career goals and interests by prioritizing factors that are important to you in a school, such as extracurricular activities or financial aid options.

4. Apply to colleges

After researching undergraduate programs, submit an application to the universities you want to attend. Applying to multiple programs will improve your chances of being accepted. Make sure you submit all required paperwork when you apply by carefully reading the school’s requirements, including a high school transcript and your college entrance exam results. Many universities also request additional paperwork from undergraduate applicants, like a personal essay outlining their career aspirations. Write about your enthusiasm for working in soil science and how you hope to contribute to the field in this essay.

5. Declare a soil science major

It’s crucial to declare your major in soil science or a related field once your undergraduate program has started so you can finish the necessary coursework. A lot of students decide on their major in their first or second year in order to start fulfilling the academic requirements for receiving a degree. To make sure you finish all necessary classes on time to graduate, plan your coursework with your faculty adviser or a reliable professor before declaring your major. There are typically two majors available if you attend a school with a soil service program:

6. Complete coursework

Once you’ve decided on a major, stick to the suggested course schedule to make sure you finish all the prerequisites for graduation. Your school might require you to enroll in a variety of general education courses, such as liberal arts and social sciences, that are unrelated to your major. Make sure you’re maintaining passing grades to graduate as some colleges have minimum GPA requirements. Most full-time soil science majors can anticipate receiving their bachelor’s degree in four years. You might take the following courses to earn a degree in soil science:

7. Participate in extracurricular activities

Participating in science or agriculture-related extracurricular activities can frequently help you gain additional career skills, like communication and teamwork, even though it is not required for graduation. Look into some of the soil science-related extracurriculars your college offers, such as a biology or agroecology club, where you can network with other students and pick up new skills in a setting other than the classroom. You can include these activities on your resume once you graduate and start looking for work to demonstrate to potential employers your enthusiasm for soil science and set yourself apart from other entry-level candidates.

8. Consider a masters degree

After receiving your soil science bachelor’s degree, you can choose to either find employment or pursue further education. While a bachelor’s degree in soil science qualifies you for a variety of jobs, a master’s degree can help you land higher-level jobs like management positions with agricultural companies or research scientist positions at universities. Typically, in order to earn a master’s degree, you conduct laboratory research and write a thesis. The typical length of time to complete a soil science master’s degree is two years. Some classes you may take while earning this degree include:


Is soil scientist a good career?

There is a high demand for qualified soil scientists for a variety of positions in the public or private sectors.

How do you become a professional soil scientist?

Professional Member Status: Requires a BS degree with 30 semester hours in biological, physical, chemical, and earth sciences, as well as at least 15 semester hours in soil science courses that meet the following distribution, as well as board approval.

What does a soil scientist do?

The study, analysis, and recommendation of soils for suitable land use are the tasks of the discipline of soil science. Typically, the field splits into two subspecialties: environmental soils and agricultural soils. There is a strong need for both soil scientists. Environmental soil scientists work with developers on building sites.

What is a soil scientist called?

An agronomist or soil and plant scientist studies various agricultural products. These scientists are qualified and knowledgeable to investigate how soil affects trees or plants.

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