To become a soil scientist, you will need a good honours degree (usually 2:1 or above) in a science or science-related discipline. In particular, the following subjects may increase your chances:
In the UK, the University of Aberdeen is currently the only institution offering an undergraduate degree programme in plant and soil science. Soil science is most commonly studied within a broader undergraduate degree programme.
Entry with an HND or equivalent practical experience is only possible at technician level, which will mostly involve carrying out routine work.
A Masters in a soil or environment-related subject and/or a PhD is a good route for those following a more conventional degree. Several UK universities offer postgraduate qualifications, including the National Soil Resources Institute (NSRI) at Cranfield University, Lancaster, Reading, Aberdeen and Aberystwyth. Many of these are applied courses. There are also opportunities to do a PhD overseas as this area of science moves increasingly up the political agenda. A PhD is necessary if you wish to become a specialist researcher or lecturer.
Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:
Try to gain as much related experience as possible through coursework and vacation or voluntary work, particularly in practical, soil-related field work, such as sampling and surveying, or laboratory work. It is also useful to become a member of a related professional organisation, such as The Institute of Professional Soil Scientists (IPSS) or the British Society of Soil Science (BSSS) .
For field workers, emphasis is often placed on physical fitness because outdoor activity is demanding, but barriers to individuals with physical disabilities operating in field work positions are increasingly being removed. Field workers are normally required to hold a full clean driving licence.
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