How to Become a Soil Conservationist

How to Become a Soil Conservationist: Career Guide

If you want to become a soil conservationist, you need a combination of the proper education, an interest in the environment or agriculture, and the proper skill set.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a soil conservationist. We've also included helpful information for a botanist career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Soil Conservationist Job Description

Soil conservationists are responsible for managing and protecting the integrity of soils, primarily by helping farmers and other land managers make the best use of the land without causing harm. Soil conservationists are also responsible for protecting land by implementing strategies for utilizing it in a sustainable manner.



Soil Conservationist Job Duties

• Use remote sensors, global positioning systems, computer mapping software and other sophisticated equipment

• May introduce new policies and programs to industry and government leaders

• Provide insight to landowners regarding erosion and land management

• Monitor projects in order to ensure they conform to design specifications

• Implement soil management policies

• Monitor the conditions of existing soils sites



Education Needed to Become a Soil Conservationist

To become a soil conservationist, you need to begin by earning a Bachelor of Science degree in a field such as botany, biology, agriculture, geology, land management, forestry, environmental science or agronomy.


If you want to become a soil conservationist who works as a consultant in the environmental, horticulture and agriculture sectors, you may need a master’s degree in one of the aforementioned fields.


To become a soil conservationist who works in research and university teaching positions a PhD in one of these fields is needed.


Becoming a soil conservationist may or may not require professional certification, depending on the state or province you will be practicing in (requirements for certification also vary by state/province). Some practitioners may choose to apply for professional status, such as Professional Agrologist, even if it is not mandatory.




How to Get a Job as a Soil Conservationist

Now that you've acquired an education, a career focus, skills in soil science and research experience, you're ready to become a soil conservationist! The last thing you have to do is nail the interview...once you earn one.


Your last step to becoming a soil conservationist is to make a list of possible employers and suitable positions, and start handing out resumes. Do your research and figure out which companies are hiring soil conservationists, soil scientists and related positions; these employers will be in a variety of sectors.


Success Tip: Earning an internship position can be a great way to gain in-field experience as a student; speak with your professors and career resource staff to learn of possible positions!



Who Hires Soil Conservationists?

There are many types of organizations that are interested in the skills, knowledge and competencies that soil conservationists have to offer. These organizations may be in the private sector or the public sector; examples of these organizations include:


• Colleges and universities

• Conservation agencies

• Crop consulting and farm management firms

• Engineering Firms

• Federal, provincial/state/territorial, or municipal government departments

• Fertilizer manufacturers

• Land appraisal firms

• Seed or horticultural companies




Soil Conservationist Salary in Canada & the United States

The salary level of soil conservationists can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Their level of education

• Their level of experience

• The region in which they work

• The size and type of their employer


Soil Conservationist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other Professional Occupations in Physical Sciences occupational group, which includes soil conservationists, earned on average from $39.60 to $49.05 an hour.


Soil Conservationist Salary Canada: According to ECO Canada, soil conservationists in entry level positions make an average of $58,250 per year.


Soil Conservationist Salary United States: In the United States the salary levels of soil scientists fall within the Conservation Scientists occupational group according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for this group according to statistics from May 2010 was $63,590.



Soil Conservationist Work Conditions

Soil conservationists usually work normal weekday working hours, with duties extending into the evenings and weekends on occasion.  Soil conservationists typically perform duties in an office setting as well as in the field. Below are some examples of duties performed in an office setting versus a field setting.


Office Duties:


• Researching new technology and advancements in the field of soil conservation

• Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software for creating or amending maps

• Conducting meetings with experts in the field, agents of government departments and colleagues in person or over the phone

• Participating in industry policy and regulation committees

• Developing research and education programs


Field Duties:


• Inspecting and testing crops and soils

• Troubleshooting and problem solving with agricultural producers and land managers

• Monitoring natural and man-made irrigation and water control structures

• Evaluating the impact of different crops on the environment

• Making presentations to agricultural business representatives, farmers and others



Careers Similar to Soil Conservationist

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a soil conservationist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.



Environmental Analyst 

Environmental Impact Assessment Specialist


Soil Scientist



References: Soil Conservationist Career

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a soil conservationist.



Occupations in Alberta:Soil Scientist.” (March 25, 2016). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

Occupational Employment and Wages:Conservation Scientists.” (September 4, 2019). Bureau of Labor Statistics - United States Government website. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

Explore Careers:Soil Conservationist.” (n.d.). ECO Canada website. Retrieved January 14, 2020.



Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer


Scholarships for Becoming a Soil Conservationist

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Soil Conservationist can be found on our All Scholarships by Major pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Soil Conservationist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a soil conservationist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


Top Banner Image: