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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Scientists in Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo, North Dakota provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for soil scientists. The national trend for soil scientists sees this job pool growing by about 15.5% over the next eight years. 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.

The income of a soil scientist is about $21 per hour or $44,650 yearly on average in North Dakota. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $28 per hour or $58,390 yearly on average. Incomes for soil scientists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Life Sciences in North Dakota, and not quite as good as the overall Life Sciences category nationally. People working as soil scientists can fill a number of jobs, such as: hybrid corn breeder, plant breeder, and soil physical chemistry professor.

The Fargo area is home to eight schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Fargo 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 training to become 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 Fargo include:

  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Chemical Laboratory Technician. Conduct chemical and physical laboratory tests to assist scientists in making qualitative and quantitative analyses of solids, liquids, and gaseous materials for purposes, such as research and development of new products or processes, quality control, maintenance of environmental standards, and other work involving experimental, theoretical, or practical application of chemistry and related sciences.
  • 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 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.


North Dakota State University-Main Campus - Fargo, ND

North Dakota State University-Main Campus, 1301 12th Avenue North, Fargo, ND 58108-6050. North Dakota State University-Main Campus is a large university located in Fargo, North Dakota. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 13,229 students and an admission rate of 80%. North Dakota State University-Main Campus has 5 areas of study related to Soil Scientist. They are:

  • Agriculture, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Agronomy and Crop Science, master's degree and doctor's degree which graduated eleven and six students respectively in 2008.
  • Horticultural Science, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated ten and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management, bachelor's degree.
  • Soil Science and Agronomy, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated one, two, and one students respectively 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.


Soil Classifiers

Phone: (701) 225-0368
Website: ND State Board of Registration for Professional Soil Classifiers


Fargo, North Dakota
Fargo, North Dakota photo by Unimatic1140

Fargo is located in Cass County, North Dakota. It has a population of over 93,531, which has grown by 3.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fargo, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fargo are priced at $139,800 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, four hundred four new homes were constructed in Fargo, down from four hundred forty-seven the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fargo are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 15 minutes. More than 34.4% of Fargo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fargo is 3.5%, which is greater than North Dakota's average of 3.2%.

The percentage of Fargo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fargo is home to the Elm Tree Square and the Market Square as well as Roosevelt Playground and Oak Grove Park. Shopping malls in the area include Valley North Mall, Northport Mall and West Acres Shopping Center. Visitors to Fargo can choose from Rodeway Inn Fargo, Wingate Inn and Sleep Inn Fargo for temporary stays in the area.