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Occupation Details

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Soil Scientist

Job Zone

Education
Most occupations in this zone require job specific training (vocational training) related to the occupation (NFQ Levels 5 and 6 or higher), related on-the-job experience, or a relevant professional award.

Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, electricians typically complete four years of training in order to perform the job.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognised apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organisational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include restaurant managers, electricians, agricultural technicians, legal secretaries, hairdressers, and web developers.

€30k >  
Soil Scientist
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€30 -  
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
FAS

Last Updated: March, 2013

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Soil scientists study soil and advise clients on its management and conservation. They survey and map soils, and produce information on their various properties and possible uses.


The Work header image

Soil scientists use their skills and knowledge to make the best use of soils. They determine the qualities and properties of soil, by examining and describing sites, taking soil samples for laboratory testing and carrying out analysis, and using computers to make maps and models. Planning decisions are influenced by their findings; for example, they write reports that assess the suitability of land for agriculture, forestry, civil engineering, environmental protection, natural resource or archaeological exploration, and waste management.  
 
In farming, soil scientists assess the soil's potential for growing crops. They may advise farmers on crop nutrition, the use of fertilisers, or land management methods that minimise or prevent soil erosion. Some soil scientists study soil drainage, and suggest ways to prevent chemical 'runoff' into nearby rivers and lakes. Others test the effects and efficiency of products like fertilisers and pesticides on the soil, soil traffic ability and soil-machine interaction.  
 
Soil scientists may work as soil consultants. They may advise civil engineers on the risk of subsidence and landslides. Soil scientists are very involved in environmental issues. They may advise on the suitability of a site for waste disposal, or rehabilitation of abandoned mines and quarries. 


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.

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Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.

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Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.

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Study soil characteristics to classify soils on the basis of factors such as geographic location, landscape position, or soil properties.

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Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.

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Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.

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Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies.

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Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.

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Conduct research to determine best methods of planting, spraying, cultivating, harvesting, storing, processing, or transporting horticultural products.

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Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Processing Information:  Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

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Analyzing Data or Information:  Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

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Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge:  Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work:  Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Getting Information:  Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

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Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others:  Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems:  Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

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Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events:  Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

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Communicating with Persons Outside Organization:  Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

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Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings:  Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Biology:  Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.

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English Language:  Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Chemistry:  Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

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Mathematics:  Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

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Education and Training:  Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Reading Comprehension:   Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

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Speaking:   Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Science:   Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

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Writing:   Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

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Active Learning:   Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

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Critical Thinking:   Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Mathematics:   Using mathematics to solve problems.

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Active Listening:   Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

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Judgment and Decision Making:   Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Complex Problem Solving:   Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a soil scientist, you must have a detailed knowledge of the morphological, chemical, physical, biological and geographical nature of soil.  
 
You will need to enjoy working outside, and be aware of environmental issues. You must have a flexible and enquiring mind, and good problem solving skills. Computer skills are needed to produce reports, maps and models. You must be able to express yourself clearly, both verbally and in writing. You need good teamwork skills to support and work alongside colleagues and scientists.


Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: Teagasc - Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
  Address: Head Office, Oak Park, Carlow
  Tel: (059) 917 0200
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Soil Science Society of Ireland
  Address: c/o BioresourcesResearch Centre (Biosystem Engineering), UCD School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 716 7460
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Teagasc - Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
  Address: Head Office, Oak Park, Carlow
  Tel: (059) 917 0200
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

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Organisation: Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
  Address: Agriculture House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
  Tel: (01) 607 2000 Lo Call 1890 200 510
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here

 

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Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Earth Science & Environment
Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry & Food

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