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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Scientists in Amarillo, Texas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for soil scientists in the Amarillo, Texas area. There are currently 360 working soil scientists in Texas; this should grow by 18% to about 430 working soil scientists in the state by 2016. This is better than 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.

Soil scientists earn about $25 per hour or $52,080 yearly on average in Texas and about $28 per hour or $58,390 per year on average nationally. Soil scientists earn less than people working in the category of Life Sciences generally in Texas and less than people in the Life Sciences category nationally. People working as soil scientists can fill a number of jobs, such as: pomologist, floriculturist, and arborist.

There are six schools of higher education in the Amarillo area, including one within twenty-five miles of Amarillo where you can get a degree to start your career as a soil scientist. Soil scientists usually hold a Bachelor's degree, so you can expect to spend about four years studying 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 Amarillo 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Soil Scientist Training

West Texas A & M University - Canyon, TX

West Texas A & M University, 2501 4th Ave, Canyon, TX 79016-0001. West Texas A & M University is a medium sized university located in Canyon, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,552 students and an admission rate of 66%. West Texas A & M University has 3 areas of study related to Soil Scientist. They are:

  • Agriculture, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree which graduated twenty-three, zero, and two students respectively in 2008.
  • Agronomy and Crop Science, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated four and eight students respectively in 2008.
  • Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management, bachelor's degree which graduated 1 student 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: Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo, Texas photo by Anonymous Cow

Amarillo is situated in Potter County, Texas. It has a population of over 187,236, which has grown by 7.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Amarillo, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Amarillo are priced at $245,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, four hundred seventy-one new homes were constructed in Amarillo, down from six hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Amarillo are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and food. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 20.5% of Amarillo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Amarillo is 5.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Amarillo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 86.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Pentecostal Church of God, Pentecostal Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Holiness Church are among the churches located in Amarillo. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Amarillo is home to the Amarillo Globe Dream House and the Wolflin Historic District as well as Martin Road Park and Will Rogers Park. Shopping malls in the area include Western Plaza Shopping Center and Westgate Shopping Center. Visitors to Amarillo can choose from 3B Machine & Custom Fabrication, Bailey's Lounge and Comfort Inn Airport for temporary stays in the area.