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Botanist Job Description

Indrajit Deshmukh
The job of a botanist includes the study of plants, either in their natural environment, or under laboratory conditions. The job details will vary according to the employer and specialization of the candidate.
Botany is the study of plant life. Botanists study plants and plant cells for various reasons, ranging from trying to find out the medicinal value of the plant, to finding the nutritional quotient. Botany is a branch of biology that deals with plants of all shapes and sizes. The job involves the study of plant evolution, structure, development, genetics, properties, etc.
There are different approaches to the study of plants and as there are over 500,000 different species to study, many botanists specialize in certain species. There are specialized fields in botany like forensic and medical botany.
People who love the outdoors and nature will love this profession. Students who have a liking for subjects like biology, physics, chemistry, and maths, excel as botanists, as the work profile includes studying plant cells.

Educational Qualifications

To become a botanist, you need to have an innate liking for the environment and plant life. You will at least require a Bachelor's degree to work as a botanist. This degree in biological sciences is offered by many colleges. To be eligible for such degree programs, you need to have a high school diploma or general education diploma (GED) equivalent.
Students can start their preparation early, by taking subjects like biology and chemistry in high school. Many organizations, however, prefer candidates with a Master's degree for research positions. Some colleges offer Master's programs that suit members of the working community.
Students who get a doctorate in biological science have a greater chance of getting lucrative job offers. A Ph.D. in biological science could mean a highly paid job in research or with educational institutes in a teaching position. The salary depends on the educational qualification and can range anywhere between USD 32,000 to USD 69,000.

Job Description

Botanists have to study plants and their relation to humans, as well as the environment. There are different plants species and most have specific uses in relation to humans and the environment that we live in. The botanist career path is decided by their sub-specialization and interests.
There are different areas in which botanists work. For example, in forensic science, the forensic botanist will mostly be limited to lab work. They will analyze samples found at crime scenes like leaves, seeds, and pollen to determine time and place of the crime or suspects.
They might also be involved in investigation pertaining to smuggling or use of endangered or illegal species. At times, a forensic botanist will also be required to go on the field and visit a crime scene to collect samples.
Like the forensic botanist's field, marine botany is a specialized field under marine biology and is related to the study of underwater plant life and environment. A marine botanist might have the interesting job of collecting samples of algae, mosses, and underwater plants, or studying them under their natural environment.
They will also be required to do extensive lab work to analyze plant cell parts and plant samples for various reasons like finding the effects of environmental changes, identifying poisonous species, etc.
A botanist is also required to maintain records about life cycle of a plant, in the course of their research. Pharmaceutical companies also hire them to find out medicinal value of different plant species. They are required to study things ranging from plant DNA to large underwater ecosystems.
The job of a botanist is largely dependent on his specialization and organization of choice. A large number of botanists are hired by governments and environment agencies. The work profile also depends on educational qualification and work experience.