Several state soil profiles  
United States Consortium of
Soil Science Associations
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Certification Process


  1. A state guide for certification/licensing of soil scientists -- Steps to Achieve Soil Science Licensing in Your State (six page PDF document)
  2. Briefing statement by the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) on their commitment to helping state soil societies/associations to achieve State Soil Science Licensing/Certification (see next section).

Expanding Certification and Licensing of Soil Scientists: Proposed Action Plan Document


The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is very committed to helping the profession of soil science prosper and very much wants to work with State Soil Associations in those efforts. SSSA provided the resources to develop the document "How to achieve Soil Science Licensing in your state". This document not only provides "learned from experience" recommended steps but also a resource list of soil scientists willing to help and the web sites of existing state soil science licensing language.

SSSA continues to support the Council of Soil Science Examiners (CSSE) that has developed the licensing/certification exams. These exams are key to helping the soil science licensing programs get off to a great start and to ensure consistency between states.

SSSA did not stop there. SSSA also developed a matching fund program to provide funding up to $5,000 for a state to get started in the licensing process. The state will first need to raise their portion and then contact Luther Smith,, to arrange for the matching amount from SSSA.

SSSA also accepted responsibility for administering the Certified Professional Soil Science / Classifier programs from the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) in 2004. SSSA is working to coordinate the efforts of CSSE, CPSS/C and state licensure to ensure that the Soil Science Profession is best served.

Please contact Luther Smith,, 608-268-4977, with any questions.

Certification Process

ATTENTION: The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) Statement on ARCPACS

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has assumed certification for CPSS and CPSC through ARCPACS, effective November 2003. SSSA has requested the following statement be noted on the ARCPACS section of the USCSSA website:

"The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is responsible for certification of professional soil scientists through the ARCPACS program. If you have suggestions for ways that SSSA can promote certification or licensing of soil scientists, or help soil scientists that are now certified or licensed, please contact Luther Smith, Executive Director of Certification Programs, ; 608-268-4977.

  • Certification Document (MS-Word document).  Questionnaire on certification or registration of soil scientists in your state.  Please complete and return.
  • Summary of responses received from soil societies / associations in the U.S. on certification / registration questionnaire.  Please see the questionnaire sent to all societies / associations for additional explanation of each column.


The purpose of this section is to provide general information on state certification / registration of soil scientists.  Soil scientists and soil societies / associations in several states have been very successful in getting state legislation passed requiring use of certified/registered soil scientists to perform certain kinds of soils work/interpretation in there state.  In a few states, soils scientists and geologists have collectively worked together in getting state certification / registration approved by state legislators.

North Dakota was among the first group of states to have certified/registration soil scientists required by the state government.  The current list of membership for USCSSA shows Alabama, Indiana, North Carolina and South Carolina have contacts listed for their boards of registration/licensing.

Several states through the years have proposed registration / licensing of soil scientist to their state legislators.  Successful passage registration / licensing of soil scientists by state legislators / government is normally difficult.  Several political and technical issues influence a successful preparation and successful passage of a state legislative bill on state registration / licensing of soil scientists. 


We are in the process of obtaining two kinds of information in the certification process.

  1. Provide experiences of those societies / associations who were successful as well as those who tried but were not successful in getting state approved registration/licensing.  List of processes, issues and other activities that were helpful and/or potential problem areas.  Examples of techniques, brochures and etc. used by states in getting support from a majority of state legislators to pass a bill and etc.  

  2. Current certification status of societies / associations. The following questionnaire has been sent to soil societies / associations official contacts to gather general information on certification status and activities around the country. This information will be summarized and posted  in this section of our web site.


Hello to all Societies/Associations Contacts,

Collectively, we have made excellent progress in getting the web site for the United States Consortium of Soil Science Associations (USCSSA) operational and productive. One area still under construction is "Certification Process".

I would appreciate each of you completing the attached Questionnaire on the Certification Process by June 21, 2002. You may return this completed questionnaire by e-mail to Jim Culver at "". The information obtained by this questionnaire will be summarized and posted on the USCSSA web site at

Thanks for your continued cooperation and assistance in improving the quality of available information on our web site.

Best Regards,

Jim Culver

The small state soil profiles used above, and the images from the photo collage (Soils All Around Us) are all courtesy of USDA NRCS. Click here to learn more about the images.
State Soils

Nebraska Soil Profile (Holdrege)Did you know that each US state has an official state soil? Learn more from the USDA NRCS State Soils web site.

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