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Career and Education Opportunities for Soil Scientists in Killeen, Texas

Soil scientists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Killeen, Texas area. About 360 people are currently employed as soil scientists in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow 18% to 430 people employed. This is better than 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.

Income for soil scientists is about $25 per hour or $52,080 yearly on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $28 per hour or $58,390 per year. Incomes for soil scientists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Life Sciences in Texas, 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: soil physics professor, research soil scientist, and plant anatomist.

There are six schools of higher education in the Killeen area, including one within twenty-five miles of Killeen where you can get a degree to start your career as a soil scientist. The most common level of education for soil scientists is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn 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 Killeen 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.
  • 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

Central Texas College - Killeen, TX

Central Texas College, 6200 West Central Texas Expressway, Killeen, TX 76540-1800. Central Texas College is a large college located in Killeen, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,736 students. Central Texas College has an associate's degree program in Agriculture which graduated one 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: Killeen, Texas

Killeen, Texas
Killeen, Texas photo by Ed Schipul

Killeen is situated in Bell County, Texas. It has a population of over 116,934, which has grown by 34.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Killeen, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Killeen are valued at $121,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, eight hundred fifty-five new homes were built in Killeen, down from 1,278 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Killeen are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is public administration, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 15.7% of Killeen residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Killeen is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Killeen residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Power House Church of God in Christ and Primera Iglesia Bautista Church are all churches located in Killeen. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Killeen is home to Long Branch Park and Long Branch Park. Visitors to Killeen can choose from Best Western Killeen, Comfort Inn and Best Value Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.