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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Scientists in Tallahassee, Florida

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for soil scientists in the Tallahassee, Florida area. There are currently 250 working soil scientists in Florida; this should grow by 11% to about 280 working soil scientists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for soil scientists are expected to grow by about 15.5%. 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.

A person working as a soil scientist can expect to earn about $31 hourly or $65,100 yearly on average in Florida and about $28 hourly or $58,390 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Soil scientists earn more than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Florida and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: horticulture professor, soil specialist, and plant anatomist.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Tallahassee where you can study to be a soil scientist, among nine schools of higher education total in the Tallahassee area. Given that the most common education level for soil scientists is a Bachelor's degree, 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 Tallahassee 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Soil Scientist Training

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University - Tallahassee, FL

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, , Tallahassee, FL 32307. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is a large university located in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 11,672 students. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Agriculture which graduated ten and four 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: Tallahassee, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida photo by Diligent Terrier

Tallahassee is located in Leon County, Florida. It has a population of over 171,922, which has grown by 14.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Tallahassee, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Tallahassee are priced at $166,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred new homes were built in Tallahassee, down from six hundred thirty-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Tallahassee are educational services, public administration, and health care. For men, it is public administration, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 45.0% of Tallahassee residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Tallahassee is 7.1%, which is less than Florida's average of 11.3%.

The percentage of Tallahassee residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Abundant Life Foursquare Church, Advent Episcopal Church and Aftermath Church are among the churches located in Tallahassee. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Tallahassee is home to the Miracle Plaza and the Tallahassee Community College Library as well as Old Fort Park and Alfred B Maclay Gardens State Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northwood Mall, Parkway Shopping Center and Tallahassee Mall. Visitors to Tallahassee can choose from Cactus Motel, Best Western Pride Inn Suites and Budget Inn for temporary stays in the area.