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Soil Science


Career Opportunities

Graduates in soil science obtain positions in environmental science, production agriculture, conservation, consulting, research, teaching, extension and natural resource management. Agencies and businesses that hire soil science graduates include soil and plant testing labs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, colleges of agriculture, the Extension Service, the Forest Service, agricultural experiment stations, the Bureau of Land Management, departments of health, the Public Service Commission, departments of natural resources and a variety of consulting firms and agribusiness companies. Soil scientists work in a variety of activities that apply soil science knowledge. A soil scientist's job may involve:

  • Conducting general and detailed soil surveys
  • Studying soil hydrology and ecology of wetlands
  • Recommending soil management
  • Monitoring the effects of farm, ranch or forest activities on soil productivity
  • Managing soils for crop production, forest products and erosion control management.
  • Evaluating nutrient and water availability to crops
  • Managing soils for landscape design, mine reclamation and site restoration
  • Assessing application of wastes including non-hazardous process wastes (residue and sludge management)
  • Conducting studies on soil stability, moisture retention or drainage, sustainability and environmental impact
  • Assessing environmental hazards, including hazardous waste sites that involve soil investigation techniques, evaluation of chemical fate and transport phenomena and remediation alternatives

Well-trained soil scientists are in high demand for a wide array of professional positions with public agencies or private firms. Some specific examples of positions currently held by our soil science graduates over the past 10 years include:

  • Water Quality Specialist, North Dakota Department of Health
  • Environmental Specialist, Minnesota Environmental Services Department
  • Soil Conservationist, USDA-NRCS
  • Staff Scientist/Engineer, NASA Hydrological Sciences Branch
  • Soil Consultants, self-employed
  • Senior Resources Scientist, environmental firm
  • Manager, crop protection firm
  • Environmental Specialist (Wetlands), Iowa Department of Transportation
  • District Conservationist
  • Hydrologist, North Dakota State Water Commission
  • Soil scientist, USDA-NRCS
  • Professional Soil Scientist, environmental consulting firm
  • The bachelor's degree also prepares students for advanced training. The department offers master's and doctoral degrees. Starting salaries with a bachelor's degree are between $30,000 and $40,000.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Soil Science Department
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-8901 - Fax: (701) 231-7861
Campus address: Walster Hall 106
Mailing address: Dept 7680 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: Nathan.Derby@NDSU.EDU

Last Updated: Tuesday, December 06, 2011 1:03:24 PM
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