Soil Professionals at Work

Soil science offers opportunities in diverse careers such as environmental consultants, ecologists, foresters, land planners, organic farm managers, environmental farm planners, laboratory technicians, conservation officers, and educators.

Soil scientists are employed around the world in a variety of companies, institutions, and agencies. Professional opportunities are plentiful in all levels of government, private consulting, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. Here are some examples, including links to more detailed descriptions via Human Resources and Skills Development Canada:”

To see related Career Options and Salary Information in the USA, please visit the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Relevant examples can be found under several occupations such as “Agricultural & Food Scientists”, “Conservation Scientists & Foresters”, “Environmental Scientists”.

Job Title Job Description Average* salary Employment Requirements
Agricultural service contractors, farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers Agricultural service contractors, who own and operate their own businesses, provide agricultural services such as livestock and poultry breeding, soil preparation, crop planting, crop spraying, cultivating or harvesting. $50,000/yr Usually require a university degree, college diploma or industry courses in agricultural studies and several years of experience.
Agricultural representatives, consultants and specialists (e.g. Agrologist) Agricultural representatives, consultants and specialists provide assistance and advice to farmers on all aspects of farm management, cultivation, fertilization, harvesting, soil erosion and composition, disease prevention, nutrition, crop rotation and marketing. They are employed by businesses, institutions and governments that assist the farming community, or they may be self-employed. $32.32 to $42.39/hr or $75,000/yr A bachelor’s or master’s degree in agriculture or in a related science is required. Membership or eligibility for membership in a provincial institute of agrology is usually required (e.g. BC Institute of Agrologists).
Biologists and related scientists (e.g., Ecologist, Microbiologist, Entomologist, Interpretive Naturalist) Biologists and related scientists conduct basic and applied research to extend knowledge of living organisms, to manage natural resources, and to develop new practices and products related to medicine and agriculture. They are employed in both laboratory and field settings by governments, environmental consulting companies, resource and utilities companies, chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies and health and educational institutions. $26.73 to $62.00/hr or $78,000/yr A bachelor’s degree in biology or in a related discipline is required for biologists. A master’s or doctoral degree in biology or a related discipline is required for employment as a research scientist in biology.
Forestry professionals Forestry professionals conduct research, develop plans and administer and direct programs related to the management and harvesting of forest resources. They are employed by the forest industry, provincial and federal governments, consulting companies, educational institutions and other industries, or they may be self-employed. $29.92 to $38.45/hr or $70,000/yr A bachelor’s degree in forestry or forestry engineering is required. Certification as a forester or forest engineer by provincially chartered associations is required in provinces having such associations (e.g. Association of BC Forest Professionals).
Forestry technologists and technicians Forestry technologists and technicians may work independently or perform technical and supervisory functions in support of forestry research, forest management, forest harvesting, forest resource conservation and environmental protection. $16.30 to $29.27/hr or $45,000/yr Completion of a one- to three-year college program in forestry technology or in a renewable resource program or forest ranger program is usually required. Certification by, or registration with, a provincial association as a forestry technologist or technician may be required.
Landscape architects Landscape architects conceptualize landscape designs, develop contract documents and oversee the construction of landscape development for commercial projects, office complexes, parks, golf courses and residential development. They are employed by government environmental and development agencies, landscape consulting firms and by architectural and engineering firms, or they are self-employed. $31.30 to $59.38/hr or $84,000/yr A bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture is required. A master’s degree in landscape architecture may be required. In Ontario and British Columbia, landscape architects require a two-year internship and the successful completion of a provincial registration exam.
Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists This group includes those who survey and assess landscapes; draw sketches and build models of landscape designs; construct and maintain gardens, parks, golf courses and other landscaped environments; advise clients on issues related to horticulture such as irrigation; breed, cultivate and study plants; and treat injured and diseased trees and plants. $18.76 to $28.21/hr or $47,000/yr Completion of a university or college program in agronomy, arboriculture, horticulture, landscaping, landscape design or landscape technology is usually required. Experience as a landscape and grounds maintenance labourer may be required for golf course superintendents, landscape gardeners and landscapers.
Other professional occupations in physical sciences (e.g. Soil Scientists) Soil scientists conduct research into the composition, distribution and evolution of soils. They are employed by governments, educational institutions and a wide range of industrial establishments. $39.60 to $49.05/hr or $90,000/yr A bachelor’s degree in physics, chemistry, or a related physical science discipline is required. A master’s or doctoral degree is usually required for employment as a research scientist.
Urban and land use planners (e.g. environmental planner, regional planner) Urban and land use planners develop plans and recommend policies for managing land use, physical facilities and associated services for urban and rural areas and remote regions. They are employed by all levels of government, land developers, engineering and other consulting companies, or may work as private consultants. $33.78 to $49.96/hr or $80,000/yr A bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning, geography, architecture, engineering or a related discipline is required. A master’s degree in one of these disciplines may be required.

* Salaries for the listed jobs can vary widely depending on province, employer, benefits, etc. The salaries listed here are considered an approximate average (Alberta).

Click on the links below for more information about different employers of soil scientists.

Leave a Reply