How to Become a Botanist

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


Botany is a section of biology that studies plant life and development. It is very important because all food people and animals eat comes from plants in some way, shape, or form. Botanists are biological scientists that study a variety of plants from giant trees to saltwater algae.

What does a botanist do?

Botanists examine many different species of plants, algae, and fungi and their environments. They study the structure and how they grow, make food, and reproduce. They also study plant diseases and examine how environmental conditions affect plant species. Many botanists study the features shared by more than one species of plants. Most conduct a great deal of research using scientific tools and a variety of methods. Botanists often specialize in one type or group of plants or one method to studying plants. The type of plants they study, such as marine botanists that study ocean plants and agronomists that study agricultural crops, often categorize them. Some research and develop plants that can be used for medication, food, fiber, fuel, and other consumer products. Others are involved in discovering new treatments for illnesses and diseases.

What kind of training does a botanist need?

Botanists usually need a doctorate degree in botany, biology, or other related field. A master degree is sufficient for some positions, but most employers prefer doctorate degrees. Coursework usually includes courses in English, biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and a variety of botany courses. Students also complete a great deal of research at the doctoral level. Many aspiring botanists complete internships while attending school to gain practical experience. Botanists must stay up to date on the current advancements in plant science and they often complete continuing education courses and attend conferences and workshops throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a botanist?

Employment for all biological scientists (including botanists) is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 9% through 2016. Job growth will be driven by bio-technical research and development.

Job prospects are expected to be good with competition for research positions. Some job openings will occur from the need to replace botanists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do botanists make?

As of this year, the middle 50% of botanists earn annual salaries between $48,722 and $72,803. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $85,383. For anyone considering whether and how to become a botanist, this may be an excellent career choice for individuals that have a strong interest in nature and plant life.  Botanists work with a variety of plants. They get to develop thorough knowledge of plants and spend considerable time conducting many different studies and experiments to understand the millions of species of plants. For botanists that carry out field research, they must have good physical stamina and be able to work in less desirable conditions. They must be able to effectively work independently as well as part of a team.

Becoming a Botanist Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Botanist? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what course you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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