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Soil Science

Soil scientists attempt to determine the origin, distribution, composition, and classification of soil so that it can be put to the most productive use.

They study the effects of soil loss and depletion, the extent of toxic waste disposal problems, and soil's role in growing more nourishing foods.

Representative Job Titles and Area of Specialization
  • Agricultural Product Salesperson
  • Agro geologist
  • Agronomist
  • Cooperative Extension Agent
  • Engineering Technician
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Farm Advisor
  • Hazardous Waste Specialist
  • Hydrologist
  • Laboratory Technician/Assistant
  • Professor/Lecturer/Instructor
  • Range Conservationist
  • Range Manager
  • Soil Chemist
  • Soil Conservation Technician
  • Soil Conservationist
  • Soil Fertility Expert
  • Soil Fertility Expert
  • Soil Morphologist
  • Soil Physicist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Soil Surveyor
  • Soil Analyst
  • Soil Tester
  • Staff Research Associate
  • Toxicologist

* See Training section

Nature of the Work

Soil scientists may conduct experiments on farms or at experiment stations to determine how specific soil types respond to tillage, fertilization, crop rotation, water, gas or heat flow, and industrial waste control.

They conduct research at universities or for private industry and government agencies as farm advisors or cooperative extension agents.

Soil conservationists are concerned with soil erosion control, moisture conservation, and sound land use. They conduct surveys and investigate measures needed to maintain or restore proper soil management.

Places of Employment
  • Agricultural experiment stations
  • Agricultural product manufactures
  • Bureau of Mines
  • Consulting firms
  • Cooperative extension
  • Federal roads department
  • Farm management agencies
  • Independent laboratories
  • Mining industry
  • Public utilities
  • Real estate firms and land appraisal boards
  • Soil Conservative Service
  • State department of agriculture
  • State roads department
  • U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • U.S. Forest Service
  • Universities and colleges


A bachelor's degree qualifies you for many of the careers listed above depending on the types of courses you completed and experience you gained as an undergrad including lab work, internships and part-time or summer jobs.

A master's degree qualifies you for more advanced positions in soil analysis, farm advising, and research positions. However, if you want to administer research programs for a federal agency or in private industry or teach and conduct research at a university, you will need a Ph.D.

For further information and/or career counseling contact the UCR Career Center, (951) 827-3631.

Supplemental Material

The following documents may provide further ideas for exploration.


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