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 sucessful, you are only required to pay the balance of the annual membership fee. 

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. 

Develop your soil knowledge

Soil Science Australia, in collaboration with the Australian Soil Network, has developed a searchable database of Australian soil science courses. The database show both university courses and TAFE courses.

If you are hesitant to apply for CPSS because you do not have the required number of soil units, you may be interested in enrolling in one or more of these courses to build up your qualifications.

Soil Knowledge Exam

In the past, CPSS applicants who did not have the requisite four soil units could sit the Soil Science Society of America’s Australian Soil Fundamentals Exam, developed in conjunction with Soil Science Australia.  

This exam is being replaced with one owned and developed by Soil Science Australia. It is expected this work will be completed in late 2023 / early 2024. 

Specialist Certification CPSS-CSAM

Soil scientists who hold the Certified Professional Soil Scientist accreditation can also obtain a specialty certification in Contaminated Soil Assessment and Management (CPSS-CSAM) recognising specific competence.

SSA recommends that when seeking advice on soil science matters at contaminated sites, a CPSS with CSAM certification will help the team to meet legal obligations and will also 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

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 hours of development relate 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.

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