What Careers are in Botany?

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Careers in botany are rooted in a high regard for plant life. Jobs in this field center on the necessity of plants for our existence. Plant knowledge has broad applications for preserving human life and our natural world. Among them are finding medical cures, breeding hardy crops, and saving endangered plant species. With a bachelor's degree in botany, here are exciting professions grounded in plant science.

1. Biotechnologist

This profession involves using live plants to design new biological products. Working in labs, biotechnologists conduct experiments, from which they develop materials. Inventions credited to these scientists are biofuels, medicines, bioplastics, and disease-resistant crops.

Employers seek candidates who are innovative, analytical, detail-minded, and articulate. College grads often start as research technicians. Job responsibilities involve setting up and maintaining lab equipment, recording data, and preparing reports. With experience, tasks can progress into designing the research that spawns new products.

Biotechnologists work for hospitals, pharmaceutical firms, genetic engineering companies, and food manufacturers. Houston Chronicle cites biotechnologist as one of the top careers in botany.

2. Florist

This job suits the botany grad with crafting skill and design talent. Florists artfully create flower arrangements, using fresh, dried, and artificial blooms. They tailor bouquets to a range of occasions, including weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and graduations. Businesses hire florists to decorate their reception areas and conference rooms. Florists may also network with interior designers and wedding planners.

While designing bouquets, florists must also order stock and supplies. To draw clients, they fashion window and refrigerated displays. They help customers choose flowers, containers, and floral accessories. When closing sales, they tally purchases, handle payments, and issue receipts. 

To excel in this field, math and communication skills are required. A person must also be patient, polite, and congenial, even during busy holidays. Florists work at local shops, retail chains, and grocery stores. When seeking employment, it helps to have floral design certification and accreditation.

3. Plant Geneticist

Also termed "plant breeder," this profession specializes in crop cultivation. Plant geneticists improve the value of edible plants regarding nutrition, flavor, appearance, yield, and hardiness. Working in laboratories, they upgrade existing crops and birth new plant varieties.

Responsibilities include implementing research goals, plant cross-pollination, gene isolation, breeding, recordkeeping, and research publication. The tasks of a plant geneticist require being organized, analytical, detail-minded, and articulate. Even at the entry level, this is one of the most well-paid careers in botany. Plant breeders are hired by seed companies, food producers, universities, research firms, and government departments.

4. Field Botanist

The heart of this profession is hands-on plant care. Field botanists engage in plant propagation, growth, and cultivation, both in the laboratory and outdoors. They help to invent new medicines and optimize crop production. They also identify invasive plants that threaten native species.

At a school, a field botanist may develop a horticulture curriculum or on-site garden, along with training students in plant care. At a research center, field botanists are tasked with finding new scientific uses for plants. They're also employed by arboretums, botanic gardens, conservatories, medical labs, state and national parks, and science journals.

For job success, a candidate needs in-depth knowledge of plant physiology, statistics, and calculus. They must also be adaptable and articulate. Since field botanists draft surveys, manuscripts, grant applications, and research projects, they need strong writing skills. For the college grad with the proverbial green thumb, this is one of the most fulfilling careers in botany.

5. Naturalist

Naturalists raise environmental awareness through education. In creative ways, they foster in people an appreciation for nature. They also teach how to protect the ecosystems of parks, rivers, forests, and wetlands. Through lectures and tours, a naturalist explains the effects of human activities on the environment. The scientist also teaches about climatic change, weather patterns, and safeguarding wild plants and animals.

Naturalists make learning fun. For young people, they lead educational games, rock climbs, and forest hikes. They spearhead efforts to clean up rivers and parks. They also design engaging interpretative programs. Naturalists are hired by government departments, state parks, and environmental groups. On a contract basis, they work as consultants to non-profit organizations, scientific firms, and government agencies.

To teach effectively, a naturalist must be enthusiastic and articulate, with leadership skills. For the college grad who enjoys sharing a love of nature and being outdoors, naturalist is one of the most rewarding careers in botany.

Related Resource: 20 Most Affordable Master's in Agriculture Online Degree Programs 2018

Plant Champions

Careers in botany spotlight the innovative use of plants to improve human well-being. Some jobs entail environmental protection. Five meaningful professions in this field are biotechnologist, florist, plant geneticist, field botanist, and naturalist. Driven by a deep respect for plant life, these dedicated scientists protect our precious Earth.