Soil and Plant Scientists: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Soil and Plant Scientists 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.

  • Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
  • 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.
  • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • 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.
Read more about what does a Soil and Plant Scientist really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$70630 per year

Average hourly wage
$34 per hour

Soil and Plant Scientists with little to no experience tend to make between $38570 and $48910 while the more experienced ones can earn over $84060 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
MD $48 $98,880
MS $44 $90,700
DC $43 $88,840
MA $41 $86,160
CT $41 $85,210

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Soil and Plant Scientist is to move to a higher paying state like MD. Right now, the highest paying states for Soil and Plant Scientists are MD, MS, DC, MA and CT.

However, a higher pay at MD doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at MD might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Soil and Plant Scientist is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Doctoral degree

We asked other Soil and Plant Scientists what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a PhD followed by a Master’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Agriculture, General
Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture
Viticulture and Enology
Plant Sciences, General
Agronomy and Crop Science
Read more about how to become a Soil and Plant Scientist and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Soil and Plant Scientist.

Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
Very good salary
Not suitable for people who likes to start and carry out projects
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

67% of Soil and Plant Scientists said they were satisfied with their job and 79% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Soil and Plant Scientists

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