Soil Chemist

Evaluate the chemical makeup of soil.
picture of Soil Chemist

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$39,000 – $116,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Soil Chemists do?

Playing in the dirt has never been more fulfilling than when working as a Soil Chemist. Gathering information about soil and its conservation, the Soil Chemist provides valuable insight into why things happen. Employed by government agencies, private companies, and research facilities, the Soil Chemist is charged with learning why plants don’t grow, how soil is contaminated, and how to fix the problems.

As a Soil Chemist, you may choose to specialize in a particular type or category of soil. Working with Surveyors, Soil Conservationists, and engineering firms, you know all there is to know about soil. An extensive background in earth science, biology, water quality, soil contamination, and mathematics provides the knowledge you need to complete your duties.

For example, when you work for a construction company, you classify and grade the soil according to its composition. Using the skills you learned in your earth science and chemistry classes, you conduct several tests to determine specific characteristics of the soil. Its resistance to erosion, capacity to hold water, and stability all determine if the land is suitable for building a new skyscraper. After your tests are completed, you make a recommendation to the company executives on how to proceed.

Identifying problems with the soil also means making recommendations on how to correct them. Telling a Farmer that his soil cannot support a crop of soybeans is helpful. However, telling the Farmer how to fix the soil so he can plant soybeans is better. Being helpful and improving the quality of the earth — that’s a good combination!

Should I be a Soil Chemist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.

  • How to become a Soil Chemist

    Most Soil Chemists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aea9cl&chl=|certificate+%286%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2877%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29|doctorate+%2814%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,77
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