10 Botanist Careers (Including Primary Duties and Salaries)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 24 January 2023

Published 8 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Botany is the scientific study of plants. Botanists, or plant scientists, use their studies for the conservation of our environment and protection of plant species. Learning more about botanists may help you decide if this is a path you would like to pursue. In this article, we discuss 10 popular botanist careers, what a botanist is, what they do, where they can study and the different skills needed to succeed as one.

Related: What Does a Horticulturist Do? (Including Duties and Skills)

10 popular botanist careers

Botany is a broad field that can provide ample opportunity for a diverse range of career paths. Some botany careers may be research-driven, while others may offer more administrative elements. Here is a list of career paths botanists can take and the salaries they can expect to earn in those roles:

1. Florist

Average national salary: $53,019 per year

Primary duties: The main role of a florist is usually to arrange sellable flower bouquets and arrangements. Other common responsibilities as a florist include receiving flower orders, topping up arrangements' water and pruning where required. Florists may also spend part of their day giving clients information on suitable flowers for different arrangements, occasions and seasons.

Related: What Does a Florist Do? (With Salary and Career Path)

2. Naturalist

Average national salary: $57,747 per year

Primary duties: Naturalists educate the public about the environment. Their primary duties include preserving, restoring, maintaining and conserving the natural habitat. These professionals do research to figure out why particular circumstances may help or harm an environment or a species. A naturalist frequently assists and implements research activities as part of a bigger research group. They assist in the preparation of interpretive materials, the gathering and interpretation of scientific data and the development of programmes to protect certain species or ecosystems.

3. Arborist

Average national salary: $71,185 per year

Primary duties: Arborists are professionals who work with trees. They plant trees wisely after first observing their surroundings and thinking of ways to improve their wellbeing. Arborists often have a broad understanding of soil and tree biology and they frequently provide advice to landscaping companies and other organisations on how to develop and care for trees. They can also create tree rehabilitation programmes for ill or damaged trees.

4. Farm manager

Average national salary: $77,458 per year

Primary duties: Farm managers are responsible for the livelihood of a farm. Depending on the kind of farm, they may plan activities, make decisions about crops or livestock and harvest and sell crops. They often lead staff members, purchase supplies, supervise budgets and make sure the farm is running smoothly and efficiently.

5. Forester

Average national salary: $89,001 per year

Primary duties: A forester's main responsibility is to plant and care for trees in the forest. They help with a variety of tasks including restoration, timber harvesting and the preservation of protected forest regions. Professionals in other professions, such as geologists and wildlife biologists, collaborate closely with foresters. They aid in the protection of wilderness areas, public enjoyment, fire management and the development of habitat enhancement methods for various species.

6. Environmental scientist

Average national salary: $90,371 per year

Primary duties: The primary duties of environmental scientists include taking part in research studies to help determine environmental hazards. They compile data, analyse it and develop strategic plans to prevent environmental problems or find solutions to already existing problems. Environmental scientists may also assist in developing government policies and regulations.

7. Biologist

Average national salary: $83,827 per year

Primary duties: Biologists study animal and plant life. They focus on their behaviours and how they interact with each other. Research, collection of samples, experiments and reporting findings all usually fall into the job description of a biologist. Biologists may also identify invasive species, pest control methods and potential environmental impacts. Biologists can work for government agencies, private institutions and universities.

8. Environmental engineer

Average national salary: $62,486 per year

Primary duties: Environmental engineers develop answers to environmental problems using engineering, biology and chemical principles. They aid in disposing of garbage, reducing water and air pollution and other public health impacts and improving recycling efforts. Environmental engineers also analyse drinking water, sustainability and climate change in collaboration with government agencies and other organisations.

9. Biotechnologist

Average national salary: $24 per hour

Primary duties: Biotechnologists develop new products and technologies related to applications of biological sciences. They provide expert analysis to help solve problems across disciplines. Biotechnologists can offer their expertise to those in environmental safety, healthcare and technology fields. They often work for pharmaceutical or bioscience companies to develop new technologies, products and medical devices.

10. Biostatistician

Average salary: $114,419 per year

Primary duties: To better understand public health, biostatisticians create, analyse and implement statistical research. They may also collaborate with other businesses to examine products and data. Biostatisticians work in a wide range of areas, including health care, the environment and pharmaceuticals. They create regulations and guidelines to investigate keep communities safe from dangerous agents.

What is a botanist?

A botanist is someone who scientifically studies plants. With a large number of plant species, both native and non-native, there's a broad range of botany professions to pursue.

Botanists usually spend a lot of their time doing research, developing theories and making predictions based on their findings. Their research aids in determining how environmental changes affect plant life. They also study how those changes may affect medicine, food supply, building materials and the environment.

What do botanists study?

There is a range of botany-related degrees available at many universities. Obtaining a bachelor degree usually required three years of full-time study. You can go on to complete a master's degree, which can take up to two years to complete. After a total of seven years of study, you may achieve a doctorate in botany. Some specialisations include:

  • Forest botanist: They study tree species and other important species in a forest.

  • Marine botanist: This professional studies marine plants and underwater environments.

  • Plant ecologist: They study the relationships between plants and their environment.

  • Plant pathologist: This professional studies the effects of diseases that are harmful to crop growth.

  • Plant physiologist: They study internal plant functions and their chemical basis to learn how plants grow, process nutrients and reproduce.

  • Plant taxonomist: This scientist studies diversity in plant life and the evolutionary relationships between different plant groups and species.

  • Plant biochemist: They study different chemical reactions in the plant.

  • Horticulturist: This professional studies edible and ornamental plants.

Botanists can also choose to specialise in specific types of plants, including:

  • Mycology: the study of fungi

  • Phycology: the study of algae

  • Tropical botany: the study of tropical plants

Related: 30 Types of Outdoor Jobs (With Salary Information)

Benefits of choosing a career in botany

If you enjoy learning about all kinds of plants and the biological sciences pique your interest, a career in botany could be the career for you. Here are some benefits of a career path in botany:

  • You may have the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world, including remote locations.

  • The outdoors may be your office space for a while.

  • You may get the opportunity to work with highly advanced technology.

  • You may get to advise on environmental issues and work on solutions to prevent environmental hazards.

  • You have a large variety of career options to choose from.

  • There can be a host of opportunities for employment positions.

Relevant skills of a botanist

There is a wide range of skills that may be relevant or beneficial to a career in botany. Below you can find some of the top skills for botanists to possess:

Technology skills

Botanists often use a range of advanced technological equipment to carry out some of their daily duties. Microscopes, digital imaging technology and satellite imaging are some of the equipment they tend to use. Having strong technology skills can be essential when using the latest in technology.

Observational skills

Botanists study how plants behave over time. Observational abilities are often important while observing plant operations, reproductions and the environment in which they live. Biomedical researchers may hire botanists to examine whether a plant species may contribute to modern medicine.

Analytical skills

Botanists usually dissect information, categorise it and draw conclusions using analytical skills. During an experiment, for example, they might analyse the results to come up with a clear conclusion. Strong analytical skills can help these professionals analyse an issue or problem objectively. Reasoning well, defining and reviewing the work of others and explaining your thinking systematically can all be valuable skills in botany.

Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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