The Licensing Board has voted to utilize a fundamentals examination that has been prepared by the Soil Science Society of America. Development of this exam involved a very intensive process with input from many professionals. The first step was the preparation of performance objectives. The six identified areas of expertise included the following:

1. soil chemistry and mineralogy
2. soil fertility
3. soil physics
4. soil genesis, morphology and classification
5. soil biology and biochemistry
6. land use management

These general areas formed the basis for defining around 180 specific objectives that would delineate the soil science competency expected of a baccalaureate degree in soil science. The list of performance objectives will be made available for applicants preparing for the exam. The fundamentals exam contains 150-200 questions prepared in a multiple choice. Grading of the exam will be completed by the Soil Science Society of America. The examination process is being handled by a Council of Soil Science Examiners that has been appointed by the Society. The Council represents the diverse areas of expertise in soil science and encompasses a cross-section of academic and practicing professional soil scientists from across the nation.

The fundamentals exam can be taken at any time by submitting the Application for Fundamental Exam form. The professional practice exam is taken after completing all requirements including three cumulative years (or equivalent) of practice experience mentored by a licensed soil scientist. Requests and applications to sit for exams should be received by the Board eight weeks prior to the scheduled examination dates, which are typically in April and November. Approval to sit for the professional practice exam must come from the NC Board for Licensing of Soil Scientists. The current cost for these examinations is $205 each. There will also be an additional $55 proctor fee.

The Board has approved Continuous Online Testing for both the Fundamental and Professional Practice Exams. In accordance with SSSA policies the exams can be taken again if needed after a 15 day waiting period. The Fundamental Exam can be taken without board approval. Applicants will still need board approval before taking the Professional Practice exam. In person testing is also available and will be offered two times a year. For more information on the Continuous Online Testing read here.

Visit https://www.soils.org/certifications/exam-information for additional information, including studying guides and exam resources