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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Scientists in Montgomery, Alabama

Soil scientists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Montgomery, Alabama area. Currently, 120 people work as soil scientists in Alabama. This is expected to grow by 11% to about 130 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for soil scientists, which sees this job pool growing by about 15.5% over the next eight years. Soil scientists generally conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth.

The income of a soil scientist is about $30 per hour or $64,140 annually on average in Alabama. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $28 hourly or $58,390 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Life Sciences, people working as soil scientists in Alabama earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Life Sciences nationally. Jobs in this field include: viticulturist, arboriculturist, and soil physics professor.

There are twelve schools of higher education in the Montgomery area, including one within twenty-five miles of Montgomery where you can get a degree to start your career as a soil scientist. Soil scientists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years training to become a soil scientist if you already have a high school diploma.


In general, soil scientists conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. They also may classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

Soil scientists communicate research and project results to other professionals and the public or teach related courses or workshops. They also design ways of altering soils to suit different types of plants. Equally important, soil scientists have to investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to establish the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity. They are often called upon to investigate soil problems and poor water quality to establish sources and effects. They are expected to furnish data and recommendations to farmers and other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, and avoid or correct problems such as erosion. Finally, soil scientists perform chemical analyses of the microorganism content of soils to establish microbial reactions and chemical mineralogical relationships to plant growth.

Every day, soil scientists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they think through problems and come up with general rules.

It is important for soil scientists to conduct experiments investigating how soil forms and interacts with land-based ecosystems and living organisms. They are often called upon to furnish advice regarding the development of regulatory standards for land reclamation and soil conservation. They also confer with engineers and other technical personnel working on construction projects about the effects of soil problems and possible solutions to these problems. They are sometimes expected to formulate and supervise land conservation and reclamation programs for industrial development projects, and waste management programs for composting and farming. Somewhat less frequently, soil scientists are also expected to study insect distribution and habitat and recommend methods to inhibit importation and spread of injurious species.

Soil scientists sometimes are asked to identify and classify species of insects and allied forms. And finally, they sometimes have to conduct experiments investigating how soil forms and interacts with land-based ecosystems and living organisms.

Like many other jobs, soil scientists must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Montgomery include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Chemist. Conduct qualitative and quantitative chemical analyses or chemical experiments in laboratories for quality or process control or to develop new products or knowledge.
  • Environmental Technician. Perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health. Under direction of an environmental scientist or specialist, may collect samples of gases, soil, and other materials for testing and take corrective actions as assigned.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.


Tuskegee University - Tuskegee, AL

Tuskegee University, Kresge Center, 3rd Floor, Tuskegee, AL 36088-1920. Tuskegee University is a small university located in Tuskegee, Alabama. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,973 students and an admission rate of 59%. Tuskegee University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Soil Science and Agronomy which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.


Certified Crop Advisor: The American Society of Agronomy's Certified Crop Adviser Program (CCA).

For more information, see the American Society of Agronomy - ARCPACS website.

Certified Professional Agronomist: This certification is designed for the agronomist that advises growers on agronomic practices, conducts training programs for other agronomists, conducts research, manages other agronomists, or provides technical support to field agronomists and can meet the standards of the program.

For more information, see the American Society of Agronomy - ARCPACS website.

Certified Professional Soil Scientist: Certification programs offered by SSSA are voluntary, but offer similar benefits to the public as licensing programs.

For more information, see the American Society of Agronomy - ARCPACS website.

Accredited Agricultural Consultant: The Accredited Agricultural Consultant (AAC) designation was developed and first offered by the ASFMRA in 1997.

For more information, see the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers website.

Associate Certified Entomologist: The Entomological Society of America, long the industry leader in certification through its Board Certified Entomologist (BCE) program, is pleased to announce a new certification option geared specifically toward the pest management industry.

For more information, see the Entomological Society of America website.

Arborist / Municipal Specialist: This credential was developed by the ISA and the Society of Municipal Arboriculture for those involved in managing the complex aspect of trees in an urban environment.

For more information, see the International Society of Arboriculture website.


Montgomery, Alabama
Montgomery, Alabama photo by Spyder Monkey

Montgomery is situated in Montgomery County, Alabama. It has a population of over 202,696, which has grown by 0.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Montgomery, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Montgomery are valued at $129,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred seventy-eight new homes were built in Montgomery, down from six hundred nineteen the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Montgomery are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is public administration, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 29.4% of Montgomery residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Montgomery is 10.1%, which is less than Alabama's average of 10.7%.

The percentage of Montgomery residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.6%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Big Roxanna Church, William African Methodist Episcopal Zion Chapel and Whitfield Memorial United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Montgomery. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Churches of Christ.

Montgomery is home to the Montgomery Public Library and the Booker T Washington Community Center as well as Old Selma Road Park and Montgomery East Exchange Park. Shopping centers in the area include Montgomery East Plaza Shopping Center, Montgomery Mall Shopping Center and Norman Bridge South Shopping Center. Visitors to Montgomery can choose from Relax Inn, Islander and Towne Place Suites by Marriott for temporary stays in the area.