Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Scientists in Fort Collins, Colorado

Soil scientists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Fort Collins, Colorado area. There are currently 520 jobs for soil scientists in Colorado and this is projected to grow 24% to 640 jobs by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for soil scientists are expected to grow by about 15.5%. 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.

Income for soil scientists is about $25 hourly or $53,960 annually on average in Colorado. Nationally, their income is about $28 per hour or $58,390 annually. Earnings for soil scientists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Life Sciences in Colorado and not quite as good as general Life Sciences category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: physical hydrologist, plant breeder, and agronomy professor.

The Fort Collins area is home to eleven schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Fort Collins where you can get a degree as a soil scientist. Soil scientists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so it will take about four years to learn to be a soil scientist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Soil Scientist

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 Fort Collins 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.
  • Food Science Technician. Perform standardized qualitative and quantitative tests to determine physical or chemical properties of food or beverage products.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • 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.
  • Zoologist. Study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Soil Scientist Training

Colorado State University - Fort Collins, CO

Colorado State University, 102 Administration Building, Fort Collins, CO 80523-0100. Colorado State University is a large university located in Fort Collins, Colorado. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 27,796 students and an admission rate of 86%. Colorado State University has 5 areas of study related to Soil Scientist. They are:

  • Agriculture, master's degree which graduated 13 students in 2008.
  • Horticultural Science, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated fourteen, six, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management, doctor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Range Science and Management, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated eight, nine, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Soil Science and Agronomy, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated eighteen, four, and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins, Colorado
Fort Collins, Colorado photo by Citycommunications

Fort Collins is located in Larimer County, Colorado. It has a population of over 136,509, which has grown by 15.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Collins, 91, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Collins are valued at $216,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-seven new homes were built in Fort Collins, down from four hundred eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Fort Collins are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, construction, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 48.4% of Fort Collins residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 18.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Collins is 6.3%, which is less than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Fort Collins residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Assemblies of God and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Visitors to Fort Collins can choose from Carousel Properties, AmericInn Motel & Suites Fort Collins and Hampton Inn Ft. Collins for temporary stays in the area.