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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Scientists in Jackson, Mississippi

There are many career and education opportunities for soil scientists in the Jackson, Mississippi area. There are currently 320 working soil scientists in Mississippi; this should grow 11% to about 350 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%. 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.

Soil scientists earn approximately $28 per hour or $59,700 yearly on average in Mississippi. Nationally they average about $28 hourly or $58,390 annually. Soil scientists earn more than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Mississippi and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Soil scientists work in a variety of jobs, including: plant breeder, hydrology professor, and crop nutrition scientist.

The Jackson area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Jackson where you can get a degree as a soil scientist. Given that the most common education level for soil scientists is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years studying to be 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 Jackson 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.


Hinds Community College - Raymond, MS

Hinds Community College, 501 East Main Street, Raymond, MS 39154. Hinds Community College is a large college located in Raymond, Mississippi. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,398 students. Hinds Community College has an associate's degree program in Agriculture which graduated one student 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Mississippi photo by Yassie

Jackson is situated in Hinds County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 173,861, which has shrunk by 5.6% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Jackson, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Jackson cost $101,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred fifty-six new homes were built in Jackson, up from two hundred twenty-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Jackson are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 27.1% of Jackson residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Jackson is 9.2%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Jackson residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Bibleway Baptist Church, Saint Johns Missionary Baptist Church and Saint John Deliverance Temple Number 2 are some of the churches located in Jackson. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Catholic Church.

Jackson is home to the Riverhills Country Club and the Colonial Country Club as well as Smith-Wills Stadium and Lefleurs Bluff State Park. Shopping malls in the area include North Terry Road Shopping Center, Northside Shopping Center and Northtown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Jackson can choose from Days Inn-Coliseum, Econo Lodge and Regal Sales Office for temporary stays in the area.