What they do
Soil scientists specialise in studying the properties of soil and soil health. This usually involves investigating the soil conditions of a range of sites, collecting and analysing samples, and reporting findings. They classify the properties of the soil, assess the soil fertility, check for contamination, and also look at the relationship between soil and plant growth. Their work can inform the management of crop production, erosion control, mine-site restoration, pollution reduction and land management.
Soil scientists divide their time between working in a laboratory, researching and analysing samples, and spending time surveying out in the field. They may be required to work long hours, and the fieldwork can be physically demanding. Soil scientists may be required to undertake project-related travel.
In Western Australia, soil scientists may work for science organisations, government departments or consultancy companies.
Tools and technologies
Soil scientists use a range of specialised machinery and equipment to collect and analyse soil, including soil samplers, sieves, probes, augers and core cutters. They also use computers and standard laboratory equipment, such as microscopes and measuring devices, to analyse the chemical composition and properties of the soil.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a soil scientist you usually need to study a science degree majoring in agricultural science, environmental science, biological sciences or a related area.
Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.