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Soil & Plant Scientists

Also called: Agronomist, Crop Nutrition Scientist, Research Soil Scientist, Soil Scientist

What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
  • Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
  • 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.

Knowledge

Math and Science
  • biology
  • arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
  • English language
Education and Training
  • teaching and course design
Engineering and Technology
  • computers and electronics

Skills

Basic Skills
  • reading work related information
  • using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
  • thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
  • figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it

Abilities

Verbal
  • listen and understand what people say
  • read and understand what is written
Ideas and Logic
  • group things in different ways
  • make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
Math
  • choose the right type of math to solve a problem
  • add, subtract, multiply, or divide
Visual Understanding
  • see hidden patterns

Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Integrity
  • Attention to Detail
  • Dependability
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Initiative
  • Analytical Thinking

Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Analytical or scientific software
  • European Soil Erosion Model EUROSEM
  • PC-Progress HYDRUS
Data base user interface and query software
  • National Resources Conservation Service NRCS PEDON Description Program PDP
  • National Soil Information System NASIS
Map creation software
  • ESRI ArcGIS software
  • GIS software

Education

Education: (rated 5 of 5)
doctoral degree or
master's degree
usually needed

Get started on your career:

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Job Outlook

Average Outlook
New job opportunities are likely in the future.
Salary
$58,990
per year, on average
Green
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about soil and plant scientists.