Soil and plant scientists’ positions are filled by individuals that have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a natural science. These degrees can be in fields such as chemistry, biology, or agriculture. Many of these jobs require graduate level education. For example, many jobs in the research industry require a PhD, JD, or MD.
While some soil and plant scientists’ positions are entry-level, many employers seek professionals with more than five years of on-the-job experience. This is similar to the medical field where doctors and surgeons must complete a four-to-five year residency in order to be able to properly do their jobs. Many companies within the scientific field want their employees to have as much education and work experience because there is little room for error in these positions.
Soil and plant scientists will receive some formal training on the job, but most employers will hire people they feel already have a great deal of knowledge surrounding their tasks and responsibilities on the job. When companies hire experienced soil and plant scientists, they can assume the scientists already have the skills, experience and knowledge they need to properly complete their work.
Soil and plant scientists should possess an extensive skill set in the areas of science, writing, critical thinking, problem solving, time management, and reading. They should be able to use logic and reasoning to solve problems and answer questions, as well as being able to draw educated conclusions based on what they know. Knowledge of mathematical formulas to solve their problems is an absolute must, as is the ability to understand directions, information, and ideas that are presented to them verbally by superiors and other team members. They must have a widespread knowledge base in the areas of biology, physics, chemistry, math, English, computers, and geography.