A botanist is a scientist dedicated to understanding and researching all forms of plant life.
If you’re interested in biology and botany, have good academic skills, and enjoy research then you might like to become a botanist.
Botany is a branch of biology, which is interested in plants, algae, and fungi.
In total, there are over 550,000 species of plant that a botanist may study.
A botanist may study the growth, reproduction, structure, or diseases that affect a plant.
There are many types of jobs that you might take up as a botanist.
Some work as research assistants or as lab technicians.
Others work as teachers and researchers at colleges.
Some work for independent companies.
The type of education you get will determine the type of job you can take on as a botanist.
Education Requirements to Become a Botanist
To become a botanist, you will need to complete a lot of education.
If you’re still at high school, you should concentrate on getting good grades in science, in particular biology.
A part-time job in a nursery is a good way to start gaining experience and exposure.
After high school you will need to complete a four year bachelor’s degree in biology, botany, or plant science.
The college you attend should have a strong program in botany.
The better their program, the more opportunity you will have.
If you are interested as a position as a research assistant or a lab technician, an undergraduate degree should be sufficient.
However, if you are interested in teaching as a college professor and conducting your own research, then you will need to complete a doctorate.
While you’re at college, volunteering as an assistant for other people’s research work is a good idea.
So are summer internships if you have the opportunity.
The web site for the Botanical Society of America is a good source of further information about the subject of Botany.
Botanist Job Description
When you become a botanist, you will most likely specialize within a particular field of botany.
Botany as a subject is broad, and because of this, most botanists are experts in one particular area.
A marine botanist studies ocean life, for example.
Different kinds of botanists also focus on the different functions of plants.
Some may look at the way that plants reproduce, others the way they metabolize food.
Many botanists are employed as college professors, where they teach and research.
Others may be employed by a museum or botanical gardens.
Here their work may be closely tied to the community, where they will take an educational approach to the world of botany.
Some botanists are employed by private industry.
For instance, they could work for a pharmaceutical company where they research plants to find cures for illnesses and create new drugs.
Here are some of the tasks you could be responsible for when you become a botanist:
- Conducting field research
- Conducting laboratory research
- Writing reports
- Publishing papers
- Teaching students
Botanist Salary and Career Path
When you become botanist, your first paid job will likely be as a research assistant.
Once you have completed your undergraduate degree you will be able to get this kind of work.
May do research work part-time while they gain a further qualification.
With a master’s degree, you could secure a job with more responsibility, for instance at a museum or working within private industry.
A doctorate will allow you to work as a college professor.
The median salary for a botanist is $62,000 a year.
This takes into account those working in labs as assistants as well as college professors.
There is quite a bit of variation in salary within this occupation.
Some similar roles to that of a botanist you might be interested include:
- Medical Scientist
- Pharmacy Technician
- Veterinary Technician
If you are interested in science and plants, and looking for a research-based career then you might like to consider working as a botanist.
Although there is a lot of education needed for this field, working with a topic that you are passionate about is a great reward.
There is also the opportunity to contribute new knowledge and research to the field.