Agriculture and Garden Careers | Soil / Plant Scientist

Soil / Plant Scientist

Career Area: Science and Research

Occupation Group: Biological Science

Salary

Percentile wages tell how much a certain percentage of an overall population in a geographic area or within a given industry or field makes. The percentile wage estimate is the value of a wage below which a certain percent of workers fall.

An example would be the 25th percentile, 25 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 75 percent earn more than the estimated wage value. At the 75th percentile, 75 percent of workers employed in that occupation earn less and 25 percent earn more than the estimated wage value.

A typical Soil / Plant Scientist earns the following wages (national and state):

State

The average salary in North Carolina for those pursuing this career is $51,383

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

National

The average salary in the United States for those pursuing this career is $59,160

*The salaries depicted here are representative of the range of salaries posted in job listings over the past year. Living wage in North Carolina is $30,000.

What Does a Professional in this Career Do?

Studies soil composition and nutrition, the impact of soil treatment practices on plant or crop growth, and soil conservation and management methods relevant to farming and forestry.

Employment Trends

The job demand and job growth statistics shown here were derived from job posts over the past year. Expected job growth projections are extrapolated from year-over-year job post listing history.

Job demand and job growth is expected at the following rates:

LocationGrowth
North Carolina70+18.3%
Nationwide2156+9%

Skills

A professional in this position typically utilizes the following skills in the course of everyday work in this exciting and challenging field:

Baseline Skills

The following are baseline skills every Soil / Plant Scientist is expected to have in order to experience success in this field:

  • Research: Experience performing creative and systematic work to understand a product, market, or customer, either before building a new solution, or to troubleshoot an existing issue
  • Communication Skills: The ability to convey information to another effectively and efficiently.
  • Teamwork / Collaboration: Experience working in collaborative efforts with a team to achieve a common goal or to complete a task in the most effective and efficient way.
  • Physical Abilities: Physical Abilities, which refers to the ability to quickly and repeatedly bend, stretch, twist, or reach out with the body, arms, and/or legs. These abilities often require strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination.
  • Planning: Working experience with the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve desired goals.

Specialized Skills

These skills are specific to working in this career:

  • Agronomy: Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fiber, and land reclamation.
  • Fertilizers: A fertilizer (American English) or fertiliser (British English; see spelling differences) is any material of natural or synthetic origin (other than liming materials) that is applied to soils or to plant tissues (usually leaves) to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants.
  • Agribusiness: Working experience of Agribusiness, which is the business of agricultural production. The term was coined in 1957 by Goldberg and Davis. It includes agrichemicals, breeding, crop production (farming and contract farming), distribution, farm machinery, processing, and seed supply, as well as marketing and retail sales. All agents of the food and fiber value chain and those institutions that influence it are part of the agribusiness system.
  • Sales: Experience selling products or services to consumers.
  • Crop Production: A crop is a plant or animal product that can be grown and harvested extensively for profit or subsistence. Crop may refer either to the harvested parts or to the harvest in a more refined state.

Distinguishing Skills

Any Soil / Plant Scientist that possesses the following skills will stand out against the competition:

  • Conservation Services:
  • Crop Management: Working experience of Crop Management, which refers to the group of agricultural practices used to improve the growth, development, and yield of agricultural crops.
  • Conservation Planning: The Conservation Plan is an important publication written by James Semple Kerr in 1982, and revised many times.
  • Soil Sampling: Working experience of Soil Sampling. Soil testing has become an important tool for assessing soil fertility and arriving at proper fertilizer recommendations. It's also a valuable management aid for studying soil changes resulting from cropping practices and for diagnosing specific cropping problems. Soil testing provides an index for the nutrient availability in soil and is a critical step in nutrient management planning. Soil sampling technique, timing of sampling and type of analysis need to be considered for accurate results. The biggest problem in the effective use of soil testing is proper and representative sampling. Proper soil sampling will provide accurate soil test results and reliable nutrient recommendations.
  • Soil Management: Soil management concerns all operations, practices, and treatments used to protect soil and enhance its performance (such as soil fertility or soil mechanics).

Experience

This position typically requires the following level of experience. The numbers presented in the pie charts below were derived from actual job posts over the past year. Not all job postings list experience requirements.

Experience Required%
0 to 2 years48%
3 to 5 years37%
6 to 8 years11%

Many of the programs offered through NC State are designed for working professionals who need additional credentials to enhance existing work experience.

Students who do not have the expected level of experience may wish to look into internship and employment opportunities.

Common Job Titles

It is possible to find work in this field in positions commonly listed as the following job titles:

  • Sales Agronomistback To Search Results
  • Agronomist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Botanist
  • Horticulture Specialist

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