Botany is the scientific study of plants; study includes plant function, growth, use, and evolution. Pollution and population explosion pose a severe threat to the environment. Plants have always provided food, clothing, and shelter to mankind. People who are fascinated towards nature and plants will enjoy a career in botany. Plants range from the smallest bacteria to the largest sequoia tree. Find out how you can pursue a career in botany.
Education in the field of botany
Under graduation: You have to study for four years to earn a bachelorís degree in botany. With a bachelorís degree in botany, you can work as a technical writer or biological technician.
Post graduation: After completing a bachelorís degree in botany, you have to study for another two years to earn masters degree in botany. With a masterís degree in botany, you can teach or take up research work in a university.
Doctoral degree: After completing your masterís degree in botany, you have to study for another two to three years to earn a doctorate in botany. With a doctorate in botany you can teach, work as an administrator or carry out research work in any university.
Qualities preferred for people specializing in botany
- You should enjoy working with plants.
- You should not be allergic to plants and chemicals.
- You should possess analytical skills and implement it in problem solving.
- You should possess the skill to handle delicate laboratory equipments.
- You should be willing to spend long hours in the greenhouse and outside.
- You should be ready to travel far and wide to collect plant specimens.
- You should be willing to work in a team.
Specialization areas in the field of botany
Plant biology specialties
Anatomy: Study of microscopic structures of cells and tissues.
Cytology: Study of structure, function, and life history of plant cells.
Genetics: Study of plant heredity and variation, plant geneticists study genes and gene function of plants.
Biochemistry: Study of chemical aspects of plant life processes, the study also covers the chemical products of plants.
Morphology: Study of macroscopic plant forms, study includes evolution and development of roots, leaves and stems.
Molecular biology: Study of structure and function of biological macromolecules including molecular and biochemical aspects of genetics.
Ecology: Study of relationship between plants and the world both as individuals and as communities.
Biophysics: Study of application of physics to plant life process.
System ecology: Study of concepts like nutrient cycling using mathematical models.
Physiology: Study of functions and important processes of plants. E.g. mineral nutrition, photosynthesis
Taxonomy: Study of identifying, classifying and naming plants.
Paleobotany: Study of biology and evolution of fossil plants.
Systematics: Study of evolutionary history and relationships among plants.
Food science and technology: Study of development of food from various plants.
Plant pathology: Study of diseases in plants.
Forestry: Study of conservation of forests and forest management.
Biotechnology: Study of utilizing biological organisms to produce useful products.
Breeding: Study involving production of better types of plants.
Horticulture: Study of production of vegetables, fruits and ornamental plants.
Agronomy: Study of the soil and crops.
Natural resource management: Studying the use of natural resources and its protection.
Economic botany: Study of plants that are economically important.
Career in Botany - Other specialties
Education: Qualifying to teach in schools, colleges, botanical gardens and museum about plant science.
History: Study of development of botany as a scientific discipline.
Exploration: Seeking out new and undiscovered plants.
Job opportunities in the field of botany
Fresh graduates can gain entry level jobs while a little experience in the field can help them secure management or research opportunities. Plant science has various specialties and career opportunities to offer. The diversity of specialties in botany has provided satisfying careers in the field for people from different backgrounds, interest, and skills. Botany offers equal opportunity to both men and women when compared to any other scientific field.
A person with mathematics background
- Plant explorer
- Park ranger/Forester
- Nursery manager
A person with chemistry background
- Systems ecology
- Developmental botany
Other related job options
- Plant biochemist
- Chemo taxonomist
- Plant physiologist
- Molecular biologist
- Plant pathologist
- Environmental consultant
- High school botany teacher
- Farming consultant
Career opportunities for botanists
The requirement for botanists and people educated in related fields is growing. Botanists can find prospective jobs with:
- Ecological consulting companies
- USDA branches and US Forest Service
- Federal Agencies
- Colleges, Universities and Plant Research Centers
- Pharmaceutical, food, seed and nursery, fruit growers, biological supply houses and biotechnology firms
- Marine/freshwater biologist
- Biological photographer
- US Forest Service employee
- State Park naturalist, college campus grounds administrator, environmental impact specialist, Greenhouse technician
- Agricultural Research Service
- Botanical gardens and arboretums, such as the National Arboretum
- Petrochemical, chemical, and lumber and paper industries
- Environmental and biotechnical regulatory agencies
- National Park Service Employee
- National forestry or conservation expert
- Science columnist
- Landscape management and design
- Consultant, botanist, horticulturist, ecologist, plant specialist