As an NRCS soil conservationist, you'll spend most of your time in the field working with farmers, ranchers, and other land users. You'll offer conservation planning and technical help to everyone from family farmers to local government officials. You'll suggest to them ways to conserve the soil, improve water quality, manage nutrients, and protect and improve wildlife habitat.
You'll help teachers start outdoor laboratories for students'. You'll give talks and present conservation demonstrations to clubs and organizations. You'll help people set local conservation priorities. You'll also provide outreach for NRCS programs, and plan, layout, design, and implement conservation practices.
Educational Requirements/Qualifications: A degree in a major field of study in soil conservation or a related agricultural or natural resource discipline. You need 30 semester hours in natural science or agriculture, including at least 12 semester hours in a combination of soils and crops or plant science. Of the 12, you need at least 3 semester hours in soils and 3 semester hours in crops or plant science.
As an NRCS soil scientist, you'll map and classify soils. You'll identify problems such as wetness and erosion. You'll use aerial photographs to map soils and write soil descriptions and prepare other information about soils. You'll sample soils and evaluate soil quality, work with watershed information and water quality reports, and record changes in land use patters.
Educational Requirements/Qualifications: A degree in a major field of study in soil science or a related discipline. Your study must include 30 semester hours or equivalent in biological, physical, or earth science, including a minimum of 15 semester hours in such subjects as soil genesis, pedology, soil chemistry, soil physics, and soil fertility.
Rangeland Management Specialist
As an NRCS rangeland management specialist, you'll help plan grazing systems that improve the quality of forage and other grazing land functions. You'll suggest ways to use grazing animals as tools to improve and sustain natural resources. You'll offer advice on water management or better ways to produce forage. Whether landowners want to use their rangeland to support livestock, wildlife, recreation, or a combination of these, you'll tailor conservation plans that will help landowners meet their goals.
Educational Requirements/Qualifications: A degree with a major field of study in range management or a related discipline that includes at least 42 semester hours in a combination of plant, animal, soil sciences, and natural resources management, with 18 semester hours in range management.
The NRCS employs a large number of engineers who have specialized skills in erosion control, water management, structural design, construction, hydraulics, soil mechanics, and environmental protection. We also employ those with general engineering skills. Your job assignment may include establishing streamback and erosion control measures and water supply systems; designing waste management systems and concrete and earthen dams; and applying bioengineering principles to solve a host of natural resource problems. You may also become involved in helping communities recover from natural disasters.
Educational Requirements/Qualifications: A Bachelor's degree in engineering. Specialties include agricultural, environmental, and civil engineering.
Other Careers in Conservation: Accounting, Agronomy, Business Administration, Cartography, Plant Sciences, Watershed Management, Wetland Management, Wildlife Biology