Soil and Water Science

I am now through a semester of an environmental class called “soil and water science”. My expectations for this class was few. I must say I wasn’t too excited about taking a class about “just” soil. But as I’ve mentioned in earlier posts it has been very interesting and I’ve learned a lot.

It has unfortunately made me worried; worried about the future. Even thought this has been an interesting class I don’t know what I can do with it in the future. How many jobs exist out there that has to do with any of this and how much money can I earn??????? I don’t know if this could be something I could work with in the future. It is interesting and more fun than most other office jobs out there, but Im worried about job possibilities and money. 

Does my environmental science major mean I have to work with something like this in the future? 

My plan when I started Queens was to study environmental science and have a concentration in business. I thought (and still think) that that could be a terrific combinations because many companies start caring about the environment more and more every year, and I think we could make a lot of money by being educated in these two subjects. When I heard that I can’t have a concentration I now feel kind of concerned about my future. Maybe I have to go back to Sweden and study business after my four years, or continue study here. 

I looked around on the internet to find job possibilities in the environmental sector and I actually found many alternatives out there. I hope that after my four years here I hopefully have a clearer view of what I want to do because it seem like there are many FUN jobs (that I think is fun). 

Here are some good websites to look at if you want to research work possibilities:

http://www.environmentaljobs.com

http://www.ecojobs.com/

http://www.environmentalcareer.com/

This course has made me more worried than excited. I hope it wouldn’t have been like that but it is the truth. I have always had a hard time thinking/planning for the future but it is time to realize that it can be good to make up a plan soon, I am soon turning 20…

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2 Responses to Soil and Water Science

  1. Philip Small says:

    You ask: “How many jobs exist out there that has to do with any of this and how much money can I earn???????”

    Most soil science jobs are in the public sector, with federal, state, and local governments. I track private sector job availability, posted at nscss.org/jobs, and the trend is steadily up. Currently I have links to 28 private sector job openings that make specific mention of soil science qualifications.

    Consulting soil scientists are in demand and we make good money. As you have learned, applying soil science requires an aptitude to bring many disparate (initially unfamiliar) concepts simultaneously into play. Non-soil scientists expect simple answers, yet soil scientists understand that in fact we know just enough to get into serious trouble, or at least find ourselves humiliated. This makes for a intellectually risky area of endeavor, resulting in more market demand for soil scientists than are available. As a result, other, less qualified profession are stepping up to fill the gap. This results in error, and feeds the demand for soil scientists. Part of the shortage of soil scientists is also due to the unavoidable fact that it involves digging holes, risking dehydration and sunburn, and getting bit by bugs. On top of it, many schools are closing their undergraduate soil science programs, leaving only a few powerhouse (CalPoly-SLO, NCSU) to provide the bulk of undergraduates needed to shoulder the fieldwork and to learn applied soil science from seasoned consultants.

    These factors combine to severely narrow the field of folks interested in soil science as a career. As a result we see more and more that seasoned public sector soil scientists are moonlighting as soil science consultants. Unfortunately, many moonlighting public servants have failed to capitalize on the premium-over-engineers that soil scientists command on the open market. In markets where they dominate (examples are Indiana, Hawaii) full-time consulting firms can’t afford to hire recent soil science graduates. Ironically, these soil scientists, our public servants, by failing to charge the market rate for their services, are doing the public, their peer soil scientists, and their profession, a great disservice by eroding the fundamental underpinnings of future soil science capabilities.

    Moonlighters short-circuiting the market is a minor effect on the overall potential for the profession. The fundamentals are very good: those that get a solid education in both pedology and edaphology, that love engaging the land from the ground up, the world needs you, and will have no shortage of work for you.

  2. ccaammii says:

    Thank you for the long and dedicated answer!

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