• Soil Scientist Job Description

    A soil scientist is a person who studies the biological, physical and chemical properties of soils to understand soils and find ways of improving their qualities. A soil scientist also provides information and recommendations to farmers, builders, engineers and environmentalists on soil management and conservation.

    A soil scientist should be curious, innovative, methodical, analytical, practical, adaptable and persistent, and have the ability to handle and operate scientific equipment. They should be able to communicate effectively and work well independently and in a team.

  • What does a Soil Scientist do?

    Soil scientists may do some or all of the following:

    • liaise with other scientists such as hydrologists, geologists, and environmental scientists
    • conduct soil research and experiments, collect soil samples, test and analyze results
    • study organisms in the soil, their origin, characteristics and importance in ecosystem
    • determine the microorganisms, physical properties and chemical compositions of different soils
    • classify and map soil types
    • develop methods of soil conservation and management
    • investigate and examine the effects of pesticides, fertilizers, and crop rotation on soils
    • provide soil consultancy to farmers, civil engineers, land planners and builders
    • oversee soil management activities for landscape design, mine reclamation and site restoration
    • plan and manage the budgets of soil research, management and conservation
    • write reports and give presentations to support and promote sustainable use of soil, land and water resources
    • keep up to date with developments in the field of soil science and agriculture
    • teach at colleges and universities
  • Where does a Soil Scientist work?

    Places of work for soil scientists include:

    • Environmental consulting companies
    • Natural resource management and conservation organizations
    • Agricultural products and service companies
    • Land use and construction companies
    • Reclamation and waste disposal companies
    • Colleges and universities
    • Soil research institutions
    • Government agencies
  • Working Conditions

    Soil scientists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines. They work indoors in offices, laboratories and classrooms, and outdoors soil sites. They may travel for fieldwork and work in all weather conditions.

  • What is Required to Become a Soil Scientist ?

    To become a soil scientist, you will need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in soil science or a related discipline.

    Secondary school students interested in studying soil science should take preparatory subjects such as English, biology, agricultural science, chemistry, physics, and statistics.

  • Modules

    Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:

    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Hydrology
    • Soil microbiology
    • Soil physics
    • Soil classification
    • Soil fertility
    • Soil morphology
  • Specializations
  • Knowledge, Skills and Attributes

    Soil scientists need to have:

    • patience
    • perseverance
    • self-motivation
    • dependability
    • adaptability
    • manual dexterity
    • physical fitness
    • accuracy and precision
    • creativity and innovation
    • good eyesight
    • good memory
    • good hand-eye coordination
    • good attention to detail
    • good listening and communication skills
    • analytical and problem solving skills
    • time management and organizational skills
    • observational skills
    • math and computer skills
    • the ability to conduct field and laboratory research
    • the ability to work well independently and in a team
    • the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
    • the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
    • knowledge of soil systems and management
    • knowledge of soil investigation techniques
    • knowledge of agricultural production
    • knowledge of soil organisms
    • knowledge of soil fertility and fertilizers
    • knowledge of environmental quality control and sustainability
    • knowledge of GIS and remote sensing


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