Soil and Plant Scientists


Salary Median (2020)


Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)

+6.8% (as fast as the average)

Most Common Level of Education

Bachelor's degree


What Soil and Plant Scientists Do

Conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

Other Job Titles Soil and Plant Scientists May Have

Agronomist, Arboriculture Researcher, Crop Nutrition Scientist, Forage Physiologist, Horticulture Specialist, Plant Physiologist, Plant Research Geneticist, Research Scientist, Research Soil Scientist, Scientist

How Leaders Describe a Typical Day at Work

Professor Emeritus of Plant Pathology ,

Cornell University

I investigate plant diseases and I specialize in identifying and treating plant viruses.

Regional Corn Breeding Leader ,

Dow AgroSciences

We are in the seed business. I work to develop a hybrid that will help farmer's businesses increase production. In order to create a hybrid, you have to have two "parent" plants to cross breed. Part of my work is to develop those parent plants in a nursery that will contain the traits we desire in future generations (disease resistant, good kernel quality, pollen shed, etc.). The other part of my work is testing the hybrids we create to ensure performance and yield in a variety of environments.

Tasks & Responsibilities May Include

  • Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
  • Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies.
  • Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.
  • Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
  • Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.

This page includes information from theO*NET 26.1 Databaseby the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under theCC BY 4.0license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.