In 1995, the N.C. General Assembly passed House Bill 826, “An Act to Provide for the Licensing of Soil Scientists”.
The act establishes standards and requirements for licensing of soil scientists and provides that a licensed soil scientist will be in responsible charge for all practice of soil science by a corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship in North Carolina, except when the organization does not offer its services to the public for hire. (Teaching, research, and government practices of soil science are excluded.)
The North Carolina Soil Scientist Licensing Act (N.C. General Statutes 89F) defines the practice of soil science and establishes standards and requirements for licensing of soil scientists. The practice of soil science as defined encompasses many activities related to environmental quality. These include investigating and evaluating the interactions among water, soil, nutrients, plants, and other living organisms. The preparation of assessments on subsurface ground absorption waste disposal systems, land application of municipal and industrial wastes, soil recommendation of residuals, soil erodibility and sedimentation, and identification of hydric soils are part of the definition of the practice of soil science. Performance of such activities is clearly related to the public welfare.
As of January 1, 1997, the licensing statue makes it a misdemeanor for any person to willfully practice as a soil scientist as defined in the Act or to use the title of soil scientist unless the person is licensed.
Under North Carolina Professional Corporations law chapter 55B and NC Limited Liability Company law chapter 57C, any corporation or LLC that offers soil science services for hire in NC must register with the North Carolina Board for Licensing Soil Scientists. In order to qualify for certification the firm must meet ownership and management requirements outlined in the above referenced chapters. For more information please see the Corporate Licensure menu above.
A 7-member board representing a cross-section of interests was appointed by the Governor and the General Assembly to administer the program. The N.C. Board for Licensing of Soil Scientists has adopted rules establishing licensing procedures. Basic requirements, set by the act, are a bachelor of science degree with a minimum of 30 semester hours in agricultural, biological, physical or earth sciences and at least 15 semester hours in soil science; at least three years of professional work experience as a soil scientist under a licensed soil scientist; and demonstration of necessary knowledge through successfully completing an exam adopted by the Board. To maintain a license, continuing education is required.
The North Carolina Soil Scientist Licensing Act (Chapter 89F of General Statutes) defines the practice of soil science as a profession and establishes minimum standards of conduct and responsibility as well as education and experience requirements. As defined in this Chapter:
- Soil Science means the science dealing with soils as an environmental resource. Soil Science includes the following tasks: soil characterization, classification, and mapping, and the physical, chemical, hydrologic, mineralogical, biological, and microbiological analysis of soil per se, and to its assessment, analyses, modeling, testing evaluation, and use for the benefit of mankind when specifically required to complete the investigation and evaluation of interactions between water, soil, nutrients, plants, and other living organisms described in subdivision (5) of this section. Soil Science does not include design or creative works, the adequate performance of which requires extensive geological, engineering, or land surveying education, training, and experience or requires licensing as a geologist under chapter 89E of the General Statutes or as a professional engineer or land surveyor under Chapter 89C of the General Statutes.
- The Practice of soil science means any service or work, the adequate performance of which requires education in the physical, chemical, and biological sciences, as well as soil science; training and experience in the application of special knowledge of these sciences to the use and management of soil by accepted principles and methods; and investigation, evaluation, and consultation; and in which to performance if related to the public welfare by safeguarding like, health, property and the environment. Practice of soil science includes, but is not limited to investigating and evaluating the interactions between water, soil minerals, plants and other living organisms that are used to prepare soil scientists reports for; subsurface ground absorption systems, including infiltration galleries; land application of residuals such as sludge, septage, and other wastes; spray irrigation of wastewater; soil remediation at conventional rates; land application of agricultural products; processing residues, bioremediation, and volatilization; soil erodibility and sedimentation; and identification of hydric soil and redoximorphic features.