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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Conservation Technicians in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

If you want to be a soil conservation technician, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 360 working soil conservation technicians in Iowa; this should grow by 9% to 390 working soil conservation technicians in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for soil conservation technicians, which sees this job pool growing by about 11.9% over the next eight years. In general, soil conservation technicians plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.

Soil conservation technicians earn about $23 per hour or $48,070 per year on average in Iowa and about $28 hourly or $58,720 annually on average nationally. Incomes for soil conservation technicians are not quite as good as in the overall category of Life Sciences in Iowa, and not quite as good as the overall Life Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: department of natural resources officer , biologist, and land manager.

The Cedar Rapids area is home to thirteen schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree as a soil conservation technician. The most common level of education for soil conservation technicians is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a soil conservation technician if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Soil Conservation Technician

In general, soil conservation technicians plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.

Soil conservation technicians apply principles of specialized fields of science, such as agronomy or agriculture, to attain conservation objectives. They also compute layout requirements for implementation of conservation practices, using survey and field data technical guides and calculators. Equally important, soil conservation technicians have to furnish data and training to government agencies at all levels to solve water and soil management problems and to assure coordination of resource protection efforts. They are often called upon to design or participate in surveys and investigations of various land uses, gathering data for use in developing corrective action plans. They are expected to advise land users, such as farmers and ranchers, on conservation plans, problems and alternative solutions, and furnish technical and planning assistance. Finally, soil conservation technicians compute cost estimates of different conservation practices, on the basis of needs of land users and life expectancy of practices.

Every day, soil conservation technicians are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports. It is also important that they articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for soil conservation technicians to participate on work teams to develop and implement water and land management programs and policies. They are often called upon to direct and implement technical, financial, and administrative assistance programs for local government units to insure efficient program implementation and timely responses to requests for assistance. They also initiate and conduct annual audits and compliance checks of program implementation by local government. They are sometimes expected to respond to complaints and questions on wetland jurisdiction, providing data and clarification. Somewhat less frequently, soil conservation technicians are also expected to inspect and approve amendments to comprehensive local water plans and conservation district plans.

They also have to be able to inspect grant applications and make funding recommendations and furnish access to programs and training to help in completion of government groundwater protection plans. And finally, they sometimes have to design and maintain working relationships with local government staff and board members.

Like many other jobs, soil conservation technicians must be reliable and believe in cooperation and coordination.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Cedar Rapids include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Environmental Health and Safety Specialist. Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Utilizing knowledge of various scientific disciplines may collect, synthesize, and take action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, and other sources.
  • Epidemiologist. Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Soil Conservation Technician Training

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has an associate's degree program in Natural Resources/Conservation which graduated thirty students in 2008.

Mount Mercy College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Mount Mercy College, 1330 Elmhurst Dr NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-4797. Mount Mercy College is a small college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,555 students and an admission rate of 80%. Mount Mercy College has a bachelor's degree program in Natural Resources and Conservation, Other Specialties.


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.

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.

Erosion and Sediment Control Certification: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians engaged in all phases of erosion and sediment control work.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.