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Soil Scientists

April 24, 2019, 2:39 p.m.

Soil scientists analyse soil samples to provide information about its quality and structure for construction, agricultural, government, industrial and scientific staff.

Information about the composition of soil is required for a variety of reasons. It may be needed to assist with planning and surveying for land development purposes; to assess the effect of agrochemicals used in farming; to aid land restoration and reclamation projects; to gauge drainage and irrigation requirements; or to investigate environmental, climatic and pollution issues.

Key tasks include:

  • collecting, assessing and examining samples

  • analysing and interpreting data

  • modelling information using specialist computer applications and preparing reports, maps and publications

  • advising professionals in related fields, such as archaeologists and hydrologists

  • recording and presenting findings

  • keeping up to date with developments in soil science and relevant legislation or environmental issues

  • attending conferences

A large proportion of soil scientists’ work is office based, although some fieldwork is necessary to collect and test soil samples.

 

Qualifications and training required

 

You can only become a soil scientist if you have a degree in a relevant subject such as soil science, environmental science or geology. Many employers also expect a relevant postgraduate qualification.

 

Key skills for soil scientists

 

  • Analytical skills

  • Teamworking skills

  • IT skills

  • Good physical fitness

 

Typical employers of soil scientists

 

  • Environmental consultancies

  • Research establishments

  • Commercial and industrial organisations

  • Universities

  • Voluntary or charitable environmental organisations

  • The Civil Service

 



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