Major Overview

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.

Required Skills

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.

Careers

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.

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Major at a Glance

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Yearly Graduations
 306
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Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in Soil Sciences might open up.

Agricultural Sciences Teachers, Postsecondary
Microbiologists
Soil and Plant Scientists
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
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