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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Conservation Technicians in Columbia, Missouri

For those living in the Columbia, Missouri area, there are many career and education opportunities for soil conservation technicians. The national trend for soil conservation technicians 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.

Income for soil conservation technicians is about $22 hourly or $47,000 annually on average in Missouri. Nationally, their income is about $28 per hour or $58,720 yearly. Soil conservation technicians earn less than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Missouri and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. Jobs in this field include: ecologist technician, watershed program manager, and aquatic/terrestrial habitat restoration technician.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a soil conservation technician. The most common level of education for soil conservation technicians is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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 Scientist. 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. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.
  • 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 Conservation Technician Training

University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has 2 areas of study related to Soil Conservation Technician. They are:

  • Natural Resources/Conservation, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated thirty-nine, five, and five students respectively in 2008.
  • Forestry, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated thirty-one, three, and two students respectively in 2008.


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.


Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.