The Science of Soil: Choosing a Career

-[Joel Brown] If you have a degree in soil science, virtually anything that you see yourself doing as a career is available to you. There are more traditional things like forestry, agronomy, working with farmers,
working with new crop varieties, those sorts of things are always available. But in the past twenty years, the real advances have come from people with a good
working knowledge of soils that have gone into other disciplines like climate
change or like hydrology. -[Ella McKinney] I knew that I wanted a career that had to do with the environment, specifically fixing some of the issues, and what struck me the most
was desertification and climate change. And it seemed to me that soils played
the biggest part in that, and I just wanted to do something to change the
world. -[April Ulery] Soil science is the perfect science. That’s what we should all be studying because you can do it all. You can work in the lab. You can work in the field. -[Joel] If you want to work in everything from rain
forests to deserts, you have to know soils. So, the variety of disciplines
that you can work in that require some knowledge of soils is vast. -[Ella] I’ve had several jobs working as a soil scientist. And all the jobs that I’ve had, I pretty
much come to work and I’m like, you know, I get paid to do this. Especially the
soil survey last summer, I was getting paid to camp for 12 weeks, and dig holes, and you know look at soils, and it was very cool. -[Joel] In the past two years,
I’ve been to China, I’ve been to South America, and I’ve been
to Australia working on soils. There’s a huge demand for people that understand
soils in the developing world, and particularly in Asia right now. They are very interested in sustainability of agricultural production. And there are
opportunities for people to do traditional soil mapping, there’s
opportunities for people to do research, all require the same basic soil science
background. The careers in USDA are incredibly rewarding. Financially, you’re probably not going to get rich, but you’ll do fairly well. And you’ll have
the opportunity to visit interesting places, work with interesting people, and
to do interesting things.

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