Becoming a Professional Botanist
Duties and Responsibilities of Botanists
Botanist Skills and Interests
Average Salaries for Botanists
Influential Professional Botanists
Professional Botany Organizations
Top Cities for Botanists
Other Careers of Interest

How can I become a Botanist?

Because this is a scientific discipline and the work is all research based, a PhD is usually required to hold a formal botanist position. In addition, botanists tend to specialize in a particular field of botany, and focusing one's graduate studies and gaining hands-on experience in that field (via internships and/or postdoctoral studies) is also crucial to obtaining job opportunities. Finally, many botanist are a part of a university or college, which requires a PhD to teach.

What are the average job duties of a Botanist?

Botanists are scientists that study plants of all types. This does include fungi, bacteria (sometimes), lichens, and some protists, although none of these are not technically plants. This probably comes from the historical scope of botany, which was the study of all organisms not historically thought to be an animal.

Botanists are a type of biologist and work mainly at higher education institutions, private research laboratories, and governmental agencies. Botanical research can lead to discoveries and insights that can improve our understanding of the environment and how to care for it, about the uses of certain plants, the discovery of new drugs, increasing crop productivity, etc. Within botany (aka phytology, or plant biology), there are multiple specializations, and botanists tend to become highly focused in their studies and expertise, concentrating on one particular environment type or group of plants or even a particular process that happens within plants.

Botanists are differentiated from horticulturalist, because horticulture is primarily the art and science of gardening, and sometimes, food production. Botany is by nature much more broad and less of an applied discipline as a purer science.

Botanists spend time both inside the lab and out in the field. If they work at a higher learning institution, they may also teach. In the field they may work alone or in teams, and may travel extensively in the course of their research.

What skills and interests should I have to become a Botanist?

An analytical mindset is important, working with large amounts of data. Botanist sometimes work alone or in teams, the latter of which necessitates good communication skills. Because they produce findings and presentations, both oral and written communication skills are important. Also, if they have teaching responsibilities, teaching skills and oversight of students is also important.

What can I expect to earn as a professional Botanist?

In 2007, botanists and other similar biologists made between $36,000 - $98,000+ a year. These salaries vary widely depending upon experience, specific areas of botany, and location.
Botanist Salary | More details for Botanist Jobs | Salary

Who are some famous or influential Botanists?

A good bet is to check out who is leading the primary professional and academic organizations in this field as well as professors who are teaching at prestigious institutions in this area. For example, Pamela Soltis the 2007-2008 President of the Botanical Society of America is professor of the University of Florida and is associated with the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Historically, there are many famous early figures in East Indian, Arabia, Greece, and China who hold the honor of being some of the world's first formal botanists. Some of their names are
Ibn al-Baitar (13th Century), Al-Dinawari (9th Century), Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati (13th Century), Huangdi Neijing and Zhang Zhongjing (3rd Century), and Theophrastus (4th Century). Interestingly, Leonardo da Vinci is also considered a key botanist for his time.

What organizations can a professional Botanist join?

There are many organizations in the field of botany, to both advance the field and give resources to botanists. These include the American Institute of Biological Sciences, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, the Botanical Society of America, the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, and the American Society of Plant Biologists.

Where are the best places to seek employment as a Botanist?

When performing a job search, there are not many positions available for simply "botanist" as many positions available in this field are much more specialized in nature and often require specialization in the study of a particular region or type of organism. As such, it is a better idea to start with a region or specific area of botany one is interested in and from there find organizations or institutions that study that particular focus. For example, sometimes a university in one part of the US has specialists and openings in botanical studies that focus on plants from another part of the world.

Other Careers of Interest

Conservationists, or environmental scientists, work to protect the environment. Using an education in physical science, conservationists identify,...

Ecologists are scientists that study the intricate relationships that exist between organizations in a particular environment or groups of environments....

A geographer is a scientist who studies the physical environment of the earth, human habitat, and the interactions between the two. Geographers...

Geologists study the earth and the processes that shape it in order to better understand the history of our planet. They then try to apply this...

Geoscientists study the physical dimensions of the earth both in the present and in the past. Geology and geophysics are the two major subdivisions...

Horticulture is the art and science of the cultivation of plants. Horticulturists are specialists in the large-scale growing of fruits, vegetables,...

Marine Biologist
Marine Biology is a form of Biological Science. Marine biologists study ocean life and its relationship to the environment. Studies may be performed...

Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms and covers a massive range of life forms ranging from yeast and protozoa to algae and viruses....

An oceanographer studies the ocean by collecting samples and gathering information by observation and measurement. As a whole, an oceanographer...

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