Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS)

The Certified Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) accreditation seal is the mark of trust, expertise and excellence in soil science.

If you are a soil science professional, you can become accredited to advance your career and standing in the field of soil science.  Qualified and experienced soil professionals who gain CPSS accreditation know that their soil knowledge, expertise and work ethics have been recognised by their peers.

By engaging a Certified Professional Soil Scientist you can reduce risk, increase certainty and achieve better soil and land management outcomes by engaging Certified Professional Soil Scientists.

CPSS is complementary to SSA’s Registered Soil Practitioner accreditation program and those holding CPSS accreditation may also hold RSP accreditation, particularly in speciality areas.   

What is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist?

The Certified Professional Soil Scientist accreditation recognises high-level professional competence in soil science and management, derived from a broad soil science knowledge base.

Certified Professional Soil Scientists maintain their professional skills and competencies through ongoing professional development, keeping them up to date with recent scientific and technological advances.

In addition, they commit to uphold a Code of Ethics as part of their accreditation.

You can find Certified Professional Soil Scientists (CPSS) employed as consultants; or working in utilities; in local, state and federal government policy and planning; and in research and academia.

Become an accredited Certified Professional Soil Scientist

CPSS accreditation is available to members and non-members. (Find out more about Soil Science Australia membership). 

To be able to complete an application form, you will need the following information:

  • Documentation of at least five years’ relevant experience
  • Evidence of four tertiary soil science units OR a pass in the Soil Fundamentals Exam OR a willingness to sit an Australian exam
  • Contact details of two professional referees
  • Evidence of English language competency

All applications are confidential.

Accreditation application fee is $345.  If successful, you are only required to pay the balance of the annual membership fee. Click here for a brief summary of how CPSS fees are calculated.

Accreditation pathway

Maintaining accreditation

Certified Professional Soil Scientists need to regularly demonstrate that they have gained sufficient professional development hours to ensure their professional skills and competencies continue to develop in line with recent scientific and technological advances.   

CPSS are required to provide evidence of 40 hours of ongoing professional development every two years to ensure that they are keeping their skills and knowledge current. 

OPD activities are recorded using an online form and evidence of completion can be uploaded for each activity. 

The CPSS OPD guidelines help you to assess how many hours are claimable against an activity and what documents you might use for evidence. 

A percentage of forms will be randomly audited each year.

Those CPSS with CSAM or AusSS specialties must show that at least half of their claimable hours relate to their specialty. 

Australian Soil Science Fundamentals Exam

The Australian Soil Science Fundamentals Exam has been developed in partnership with, and is hosted by, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).

The exam is offered every three months and you can register by visiting the SSSA registration page.

The exam is proctored, contains 100 multiple choice questions and takes up to 2 hours. It is completed online at a suitable time that you negotiate with SSSA and the proctor.

Questions are aligned with the Performance Objectives, set by our Australian Examinations and Procedures Committee (AEPC) and are considered to be the minimum professional competencies required by soil scientists working in Australia.

For more information please refer to the fact sheet.

Specialist Certifications

Soil scientists who hold the Certified Professional Soil Scientist accreditation can also obtain a specialty certification in Contaminated Soil Assessment and Management (CPSS-CSAM) or Australian Soil Survey (CPSS-AusSS).

SSA recommends that anyone seeking advice on soil science matters at contaminated sites should consult with a CPSS with CSAM certification. This will help the team to meet legal obligations and provide assurance to all project stakeholders (including regulators, clients, auditors and the community) that the soil science advice is of the highest quality.

Applying for a speciality
The governance framework and application processes for specialties is under review in the first half of 2024.If you are interested in applying for a speciality please contact the Accreditation Office.

Ongoing professional development 
CPSS with CSAM or AusSS specialties must show that at least half of their annual hours of development relate directly to their specialty.

Request For Consideration

CPSS members may request consideration of some of the requirements of the CPSS program in recognition that professional lives can be interrupted or otherwise limited for a variety for reasons including health, family and travel, or in seeking improve work/life balance.

CPSS must be currently financial and accredited prior to making a request.

Requests for consideration can be submitted using the consideration form.

The Board will assess each case individually and extenuating circumstances will be dealt with at the discretion of the Board.  Please note: no consideration will be given to members that have not meet CPSS requirements unless genuine extenuating circumstances exist.

Quick Links