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A Soil Conservationist evaluates the condition of the land and devises methods to promote sustainability, conserve soil and prevent erosion. He/She develops and conducts land surveys to gather information useful in developing sustainable action plans. He/She also develops and ensures the implementation of soil management and conservation practices, like crop rotation, afforestation, or terracing. A soil conservationist monitors conditions and uses engineering manuals and technical guides to create specifications useful in implementing plans. Additionally, you may conduct environmental compliance checks and evaluate annual reports.

Soil conservationists are employed by the government, agriculture corporations, and mining companies. Employers often require a bachelor's degree in agricultural sciences or a related field with at least 5 years of relevant work experience. Applicants must be conversant with the principles and techniques of soil conservation. They also need analytical and communication skills. The salary of soil conservationists varies from $56,925 to $88,258, with an average annual salary of $70,798.

What Does a Soil Conservationist Do

Conservation scientists and foresters manage the overall land quality of forests, parks, rangelands, and other natural resources.

Learn more about what a Soil Conservationist does

How To Become a Soil Conservationist

Conservation scientists and foresters typically need a bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field. Employers seek applicants who have degrees from programs that are accredited by the Society of American Foresters or other organizations.

Education

Conservation scientists and foresters typically need a bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field, such as agricultural science, rangeland management, or environmental science. Although graduate work is not generally required, some conservation scientists and foresters get a master’s degree or Ph.D.

Bachelor’s degree programs are designed to prepare conservation scientists and foresters for their career or a graduate degree. Alongside practical skills, theory and education are important parts of these programs.

Bachelor’s and advanced degree programs in forestry and related fields typically include courses in ecology, biology, and forest resource measurement. Scientists and foresters also typically have a background in a geographic information systems (GIS) technology, remote sensing, and other forms of computer modeling.

In 2015, there were nearly 50 bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in forestry, urban forestry, and natural resources and ecosystem management accredited by the Society of American Foresters.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Conservation scientists and foresters must evaluate the results of a variety of field tests and experiments, all of which require precision and accuracy. They use sophisticated computer modeling to prepare their analyses.

Critical-thinking skills. Conservation scientists and foresters reach conclusions through sound reasoning and judgment. They determine how to improve forest conditions, and they must react appropriately to fires.

Decisionmaking skills. Conservation scientists and foresters must use their expertise and experience to determine whether their findings will have an impact on soil, forest lands, and the spread of fires.

Management skills. Conservation scientists and foresters need to work well with the forest and conservation workers and technicians they supervise, so effective communication is critical.

Physical stamina. Conservation scientists and foresters often walk long distances in steep and wooded areas. They work in all kinds of weather, including extreme heat and cold.

Speaking skills. Conservation scientists and foresters must give clear instructions to forest and conservation workers and technicians, who typically do the labor necessary for proper forest maintenance. They also need to communicate clearly with landowners and, in some cases, the general public.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

As of 2015, 15 states have some type of credentialing process for foresters, typically required or voluntary registration. Conservation workers do not need a license.

Although it is not required, conservation scientists and foresters may choose to earn certification because it shows a high level of professional competency.

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) offers certification to foresters. Candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree from an SAF-accredited program or from a forestry program that is substantially equivalent. The candidate also must have qualifying professional experience and pass an exam.

The Society for Range Management offers professional certification in rangeland management or as a range management consultant. To be certified, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in range management or a related field, have 5 years of full-time related work experience, and pass an exam.

Advancement

Many conservation scientists and foresters advance to take on managerial duties. They also may conduct research or work on policy issues, often after getting an advanced degree. Foresters in management usually leave fieldwork behind, spending more of their time in an office, working with teams to develop management plans and supervising others.

Soil conservationists usually begin working within one district and may advance to a state, regional, or national level. Soil conservationists also can transfer to occupations such as farm or ranch management advisor or land appraiser.

Average Salary for a Soil Conservationist

Soil Conservationists in America make an average salary of $54,630 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $118,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $25,000 per year.
Average Soil Conservationist Salary
$54,630 Yearly
$26.26 hourly
$25,000
10 %
$54,000
Median
$118,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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Soil Conservationist Education

Soil Conservationist Majors

Soil Conservationist Degrees

Bachelors

81.6 %

Masters

10.3 %

Associate

4.4 %

Top Colleges for Soil Conservationists

1. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

2. North Carolina State University

Raleigh, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,101
Enrollment
23,708

3. University of California - Davis

Davis, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,402
Enrollment
30,698

4. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

5. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

6. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

7. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,816
Enrollment
21,047

8. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,695
Enrollment
6,596

9. University of Florida

Gainesville, FL • Private

In-State Tuition
$6,381
Enrollment
34,564

10. University of Wisconsin - Madison

Madison, WI • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,555
Enrollment
30,360

Top Skills For a Soil Conservationist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.7% of soil conservationists listed technical assistance on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and management skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Soil Conservationist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Soil Conservationist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Soil Conservationist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Soil Conservationist Demographics

Soil Conservationist Gender Distribution

Female
Female
50%
Male
Male
50%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among soil conservationists, 50.3% of them are women, while 49.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among soil conservationists is White, which makes up 90.8% of all soil conservationists.

  • The most common foreign language among soil conservationists is Spanish at 50.0%.

Online Courses For Soil Conservationist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  The courses listed below are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the course, we may receive a commission.
Primate Conservation
coursera

We are presently facing a potential extinction crisis for the order Primates (and many other life forms). In this course we will learn about threats to primate conservation globally. We will be using the, "Primates in Peril: The World's 25 Most Endangered Primates 2018-2020" by Schwitzer et al. (2019) as a basis for the discussion of global primate populations. We will investigate conservation status, threats to conservations, success and failures within protecting our closest evolutionary cousi...

Sustainable Soil Management: Soil for life
edX (Global)

Soil is the earth's fragile skin that anchors all life. We depend on soil to build our homes and cities, to grow crops for food and raise livestock, to support transportation and enable recreation. Yet we disregard this crucial and precious resource that lies right under our feet. This introductory environmental studies course will explore the importance of soil to life on earth, the issues, processes and societal challenges underlying soil degradation - and what can be done to ensure...

Ecology: Ecosystem Dynamics and Conservation
coursera

This course is an introduction to ecology and ecosystem dynamics using a systems thinking lens. Through a case study on Mozambique's Gorongosa National Park, learners will explore how scientists study ecosystems, and investigate the complex array of factors that inform management efforts. At the end of the course, learners will be able to grapple with real-world conservation questions, such as whether an ecosystem can recover from anthropogenic disruption and what role humans can, and should, pl...

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Best States For a Soil Conservationist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a soil conservationist. The best states for people in this position are New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Soil conservationists make the most in New York with an average salary of $98,377. Whereas in New Jersey and Rhode Island, they would average $98,156 and $97,459, respectively. While soil conservationists would only make an average of $97,433 in Connecticut, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Soil Conservationist Jobs:
2
Highest 10% Earn:
$177,000
Location Quotient:
3.59 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Soil Conservationist Jobs:
2
Highest 10% Earn:
$139,000
Location Quotient:
5.22 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Delaware

Total Soil Conservationist Jobs:
1
Highest 10% Earn:
$167,000
Location Quotient:
1.74 Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Soil Conservationists

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Top Soil Conservationist Employers

Most Common Employers For Soil Conservationist

Rank  Company  Average Salary  Hourly Rate  Job Openings  
1NRC$91,494$43.991
2Texaco$89,639$43.101
3Masons$83,944$40.361
4Indian Health Service$69,562$33.4411
5RITA$69,462$33.402
6U.s. Dept. Of Commerce$69,216$33.282
7USDA$67,814$32.60105
8Natural Resources Conservation$66,239$31.857
9Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation$54,630$26.261
10Natural Resources Conservation Service$54,630$26.2656