Certified Professional Soil Scientist/Classifier

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) with help from licensed soil scientists is working to get soil science licensing established in various states.

Guys in fieldWho should be certified?

An individual whose education, experience and career path is in some aspect of the soil science profession and can meet the standards of the program. 

Certification programs offered by SSSA are voluntary, but offer similar benefits to the public as licensing programs. Certification programs set standards for knowledge, skills, and conduct. These standards define the profession of agronomy, which gives farmers, employers, and government agencies a tool to help them choose professionals with the necessary skills to meet their needs.

All successful certification programs have one common element and that is to serve and protect the public interest. Many professions require a license to practice such as in medicine, engineering, and accounting. A license is basically a certification program offered by the state. If a profession is licensed, it is generally required that a person have a license to practice in that profession. Certification programs offered by ASA are voluntary, but offer similar benefits to the public as licensing programs.

The public may also file a written complaint against a professional with the potential penalties of their certification being revoked or suspended. In summary, certification programs set standards, measure applicants against those standards, and are responsible for investigating individuals that practice outside of the programs= code of ethics. The purpose of all these steps is to protect the public. By protecting the public welfare, a profession earns trust and respect which are the most important elements in securing a professionals future.

Already Certified:

Are you already certified? You can use the following links to renew certification, check and report your continuing education units, request the CPSS/CPSC official logo, and update and change your account information.


Steps to Certification:

The following steps detail the necessary items to complete to become certified as a professional soil scientist:

  • Pass both the Fundamentals of Soil Science and Professional Practice Examinations (click here to go to exam registration section)
  • Have at least 5 years experience with at least a Bachelor of Science Degree majoring in soil science, 3 years with an MS or Ph.D.
  • Document education and experience with transcripts and supporting references (View Credential Forms - PDF)
  • Sign and agree to uphold the ARCPACS Code of Ethics - PDF
  • Check your APSS/APSC or CPSS/CPSC credentials that have been submitted for your application.
  • Once Certified:  Individuals earn 40 hours of continuing education (CEUs) every two-years and pay an annual maintenance fee.


NRCS TSP Documents Pilot Test States (MD, IA, CA, MO, MT, IN, KS, PA)

A certified person can review the NRCS Proficiency Area (PA) document. There is one document each for nutrient management, pest management and irrigation management. They must review and check the box next to each PA indicating that they can perform that PA to the NRCS standard. They must sign and provide their certification number if and only if they are capable of performing the PAs as described.


Certified Professionals to Serve as USDA Technical Service Providers
More information on the Memorandums of Understanding (MOU):


Links of Interest