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2020 Soil Sciences Degree Guide

If you're looking for a career that lets you out of the typical office setting, think about majoring in Soil Sciences.

Soil science is the analysis of soil properties and their relation to agricultural crops. Some classes in Soil Sciences include soil chemistry and fertility, mineralogy, hydrology, agronomy, and soil conservation and management. These classes will show the relationship between crop production and water and air quality, landscape design, and waste management.

If you choose to major in Soil Sciences, you may choose to focus on a specific concentration. Possible areas of study within Soil Sciences include Soil Science and Agronomy, Soil Chemistry and Physics, and Soil Microbiology.

Soil Sciences Degrees Decreasing

#299 Most Popular Major
434 Degrees Awarded
-8.1% Increase in Graduates

In 2017-2018, soil sciences was the 299th most popular major nationwide with 434 degrees awarded. This represents a 8.1% reduction in soil sciences degrees awarded over the prior year's total of -469.

There are 20 schools offering degrees in soil sciences in the United States. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of soil sciences programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Soil Sciences

As a soil scientist, you have the ability to perform many different tasks. You may choose to advise farmers on the best soil for their crops and how to conserve it, analyze the mineral content of different soils, or work with industries to improve crop quality. No matter what path you choose to follow, there are some skills that make soil scientists successful. A strong background and enjoyment of science will be beneficial, as many classes focus on ecology, microbiology, chemistry, and physics. Soil Scientists must also have strong critical thinking and analysis skills, as they interpret data and make decisions about what soils and crops work best together.

Soil scientists are frequently found outside the office and in the field, analyzing and observing the soil or performing tests and experiments within a research lab. This is a great career choice for anyone who does not like the sound of a typical desk job.

Internships and previous experience are not mandatory, but are highly suggested for anyone interested in becoming a soil scientist. Summer jobs and internships will provide working experience and expose you to current techniques used within the field.

Prior Education for a Soil Sciences Program

soil sciences degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. In addition to these basic soil sciences program qualifications, to serve in some soil sciences careers, special certification may be required outside of your degree.

Soil Sciences Degree Types

There are many different soil sciences degree levels. You can get anything from a bachelor's degree in soil sciences to the highest soil sciences degree, a research/scholarship based doctorate. The type of soil sciences degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A doctor's degree (research / scholarship) is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to soil sciences, with approximately 34.7% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for soil sciences workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Doctoral Degree 35.2%
Bachelor’s Degree 21.0%
Master’s Degree 18.1%
Post-Doctoral Training 16.7%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate 5.5%

51.5% of soil sciences workers have at least a research/scholarship based doctorate. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in soil sciences have obtained.

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The education level required is different depending on the soil sciences career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Soil Sciences Majors

Below Average Number of Jobs
$39.2k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

There are many opportunities available for those who graduate with a degree in Soil Sciences. Some possible careers include management positions at farms and ranches, at soil and water conservation agencies, and at companies that specialize in land-use planning. You also have the option to work with landscapers and gardeners.

Solid Growth Projected for Soil Sciences Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your soil sciences degree? Soil Sciences careers are expected to grow 8.4% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to soil sciences.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Microbiologists 25,100 8.2%
Soil and Plant Scientists 21,700 9.0%
Agricultural Sciences Professors 13,600 7.9%

Soil Sciences Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated soil sciences students earned an average of $39,200 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $34,300 to as high as $46,000. As you might expect, salaries for soil sciences graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.

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Highest Paid Soil Sciences Careers

Salaries for soil sciences graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers soil sciences grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Agricultural Sciences Professors $90,890
Microbiologists $81,150
Soil and Plant Scientists $70,630

Getting Your Soil Sciences Degree

With over 77 different soil sciences degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased soil sciences school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Soil Sciences

Soil Sciences is one of 13 different types of Agriculture & Agriculture Operations programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Soil Sciences

Related Major Annual Graduates
Agricultural Economics & Business 8,521
Animal Science 7,549
Horticulture 4,175
General Agriculture 3,457
Plant Sciences 3,327

View All Soil Sciences Related Majors >

References

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