When searching for plants as a botanist, you may feel like...

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But your days can also feel like...

White female botanist is putting chemical into a test tube. Caption reads:

But how do you know if you'd enjoy actually being a botanist? What exactly does the job entail?

How Do Botanists Contribute?

Botanists are scientists who study plants and how they grow.

A Black female botanist is touching and studying cassava plants in a greenhouse

As a botanist you could...

  • Protect existing or undiscovered plants from extinction

  • Study how pollution or climate change affects different plant species

  • Use advanced genetics to grow new or improved plants

  • Study plants to find new uses as medicines, biofuels, or fabrics

  • Conduct experiments to improve the yield, disease resistance, or nutritional value of crops

  • Teach students at a university or museum the science of botany

The Actual Job

Botany is a broad field, so you'll need to specialize in an area of study like ecology, conservation, or biochemistry.

rachel cruze pointing while saying

This means job responsibilities can vary widely and you could do any of the following in a given day:

  • Conduct fieldwork outside to collect, test and record findings and plant specimens

  • Identify, classify, record and monitor plant species and biodiversity

  • Write, prepare, and present scientific reports and papers

  • Work with other scientists to develop medicines and other products from plants

  • Supervise and coordinate the work of technical support staff

The list goes on!

Quiz

Sometimes you'll need to travel long distances to collect samples. What character traits do you need?

Where Do Botanists Work?

You could work mainly indoors in laboratories and offices. But if you work in agriculture or remediation, you'll spend more time working outside. Or a mix of both!

Botanists can find work at...

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Public Institutions

  • Arboretums or botanicals gardens

  • City, state or national parks

  • Government agencies

  • Universities

  • Museums

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Private Institutions

  • Pharmaceutical companies

  • Biotechnology firms

  • Seed companies

  • Scientific publishers

  • Biological supply houses

  • Land trusts

But Will It Pay The Bills?

Flaticon Icon USA: Average yearly salary for a botanist is $69,402 USD 

Flaticon Icon Canada: Average yearly salary for a Botanist is $85,441 CAD 

You Will Love It if...

This describes you:

  • You enjoy nature and want to protect or strengthen plant species.

  • You are naturally curious and enjoy learning about different types of plants.

  • You are flexible and adaptable enough to travel on outdoor expeditions in search of known and undiscovered plant life.

  • You are patient, as well as organized because lab work can be tedious, one mistake can throw off an entire experiment.

  • You are analytical since botanists need to examine plant samples and read up on the pre-existing research to draw conclusions.

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Quiz

You are a botanist specializing in biochemistry and want to gain an understanding of the molecular genetics of plants. What will you need?

Look For Another Career Path If...

  • You dislike learning since you will need at least a bachelor's degree to get a job, but to earn a higher salary you will need a master's degree or PhD.

  • You're not detail-oriented and can't tolerate looking over hundreds of plant specimen to correctly sort and classify them.

  • You dislike repetition since you will spend much of the time looking at the same samples to conduct experiments and write research reports.

  • You don't work well under pressure since you are typically constrained by deadlines and budgets; sometimes lacking needed resources.

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Take Action

Does being a botanist sound like the right career path for you?

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Great! Then try:

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This Byte has been authored by

JS

Jennifer Stone

Instructional Designer