The exams for the Certified Professional Soil Scientist certification and state Soil Scientist licensing programs are developed and maintained by the Council of Soil Science Examiners (CSSE).  The certification program, in its entirety, is overseen by the Soils Certifying Board of the Soil Science Society of America.

To achieve certification as a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS), you are required to pass the Fundamentals of Soil Science exam. Exams are offered twice per year in a range of locations across the United States and Canada. There may be different deadlines in these states (learn more at Licensing Information).

You must pass the Fundamentals of Soil Science Exam before you can take the Professional Practice Exam.  You may only take one exam per exam date.

Please note: As of January 1, 2017, the passing of the Professional Practice exam is no longer required for CPSS certification. If you work in a soil science licensing state, you must follow that state's licensure program.  Please check the list of licensure states here

Exam Registration Information

Certification as a Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS), Associate Professional Soil Scientist (APSS), and Certified Soil Technician (CST) requires passing Fundamentals of Soil Science Examination, along with approval of credentials by the Soils Certifying Board. The associate status is targeted for soil scientists in training after graduation who do not have the required work experience for the CPSS. The requirements for certification for all certifications are below.

  Exam to Pass Education Experience
Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) Fundamentals of Soil Science Min BS degree in Soils or related area (15.0 semester hours) 5 yrs post BS, 3 yrs post MS/PhD
Associate Professional Soil Scientist (APSS) Fundamentals of Soil Science Min BS degree in Soils or related area (15.0 semester hours) Upon graduation
NEW! Certified Soil Technician (CST) Fundamentals of Soil Science Min Associate's degree (7.0 semester hours) 3 yrs post Associate's, 2 yrs post BS/MS/PhD


Exam Eligibility Cost
Fundamentals Junior standing at a college or university or Associate's Degree  $195
Professional Practice B.S. - 5 yrs of soils or related experience
M.S. or PhD - 3 yrs of soils experience
(successful completion of the Fundamental Exam is required)

View Exam Locations

Refund Policy
You may cancel at any time up to the registration deadline. Note that you will only receive a refund for any amount over $75.00. The exam fee is non-refundable after the registration deadline. This also applies to retest applications.

Material Requirements
Exam participants must bring a government issued photo ID, such as a driver's licence or passport and #2 pencils to mark their answers on the answer sheet. NO other materials are allowed in the exam site including cell phones, digital watches and any books, notes, computers, any other digital devices, your own calculators, etc. Basic scienctific calculators will be provided.

Click here for a description of how passing scores are calculated.


Study Materials and Resources

Soil Science Performance Objectives
The exams are based on performance objectives developed by the Council of Soil Science Examiners. It is recommended that the exam candidate work through the performance objectives and additional resources as supplemental information.

Additional Study Suggestions/Resources
Note that SSSA and CSSE do not endorse any specific publication, website or material for study.


Frequently Asked Questions

View our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information on the exams.


Additional Questions?

Please contact Marta McCoy by phone at 608-268-4955 or email with any additional questions.


Important Information

Next Exam Date: 
November 16, 2018

Registration Dates: 
August 13 - October 5, 2018

April 2019 Exam Date: 
April 12, 2019

Registration Dates: 
January 7 - March 1, 2019