Soil and Plant Scientist Careers

soil-scientist-500The main job of a soil and plant scientist is to research ways to improve the efficiency and safety of plants, soil, and other agricultural products. This includes studying soil composition and conducting research and experiments that improve the production and sustainability of field crops and animals.

The soil and plant scientists work for a diverse range of institutions. The examples are food companies, pharmaceutical companies, universities, and the government. Most of the time, the scientists work in laboratories or offices. Other times they work out in the fields where they take plant and soil samples, so traveling may be required depending on the job positions. The number of hours that they normally work is a full-time, standard schedule.

In general, the soil and plant scientist career can be a perfect match for anyone who wants to make a difference in the world while earning a living.

Soil and Plant Scientist Career Snapshot

Further details on a career as a soil and plant scientist are listed below (statistics from the May 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average salary for soil and plant scientists.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have a Doctoral degree while 26% have a Master’s degree.

Soil/Plant Scientist Education

Students, who consider this industry as their career option, have to fulfill the educational requirement of obtaining Bachelor’s degree from an accredited postsecondary institution. They can acquire the degree in agricultural science or in any other science-related fields such as biology, chemistry, and physics. Certifications and advanced degrees, such as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, are optional; however, they do help the scientists advance their careers and fulfill the licensing requirements held by some states.

Soil/Plant Scientist Job Duties

In addition to researching and experimenting, the soil and plant scientists also prepare scientific reports or presentations and teach at universities and other schools. They advise companies, government officials, and the public about land management and conservation. The daily tasks that they perform depend on the institutions for which they work. For example, they improve inspection standards or food quality at the food production companies.

Soil/Plant Scientist Salaries

The median annual salary for a soil and plant scientist was $60,050 as of May 2015 according to reports. The lowest salary one can make is less than $35,770 while the highest is more than $105,390. It is possible to earn the highest salary with certifications and other advanced degrees.

Soil/Plant Scientist Job Outlook

There is a positive job outlook for this industry. It is estimated that the occupation will grow by 5% between 2014-2024 which is average for all occupations. The improvement in agricultural efficiency and sustainability will continue to rise as population growth and demands for water and other agricultural products, such as biofuel, continue to soar. Job vacancies will be available since scientists are expected to retire in the next ten years.

Soil and Plant Scientist Skills & Traits

Soil/Plant Scientist Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Soil/Plant Scientist:Typical Work Activities:
• Reading Comprehension
• Science
• Active Learning
• Complex Problem Solving
• Critical Thinking
• Oral Comprehension
• Written Comprehension
• Category Flexibility
• Deductive Reasoning
• Inductive Reasoning
• Laboratory flasks
• Digital pH meters
• Photometers
• Radarbased surveillance systems
• Spectrofluorimeters
• Analyzing Data
• Processing Information
• Updating Relevant Knowledge
• Getting Information
• Working with Computers

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