What do Botanists do and How to Become One

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Are you interested in plants and would like to pursue a career that enables you to work with them? Learn what a botanist does and what you need to study to become one.

For thousands of years, humans have been interested in plants, in learning about them and finding out what they can be useful for. From beautiful, colourful plants, to poisonous ones, with many more varieties in the middle, the diversity we can see in the world of plants is so vast that it’s impossible to know them all. However, thanks to botany, the study of plants, humans get to know many of them and use them for several purposes that help us in our daily lives.

What is Botany?

Botany is a branch of biology that studies the science of plant life. Also called plant science, plant biology or phytology, this field is in charge of studying approximately 410,000 species of land plants.

This branch of biology’s origin dates back to prehistory, when it was known as herbalism, and originated as a way to identify, and later cultivate, edible, medicinal and poisonous plants. 

Modern botany is a multidisciplinary field, receiving contributions from most areas of science and technology. Botanists study plant structure, growth, dissemination, reproduction, biochemistry and primary metabolism, chemical products, development, diseases, evolutionary relationships, systematics and plant taxonomy according to Wikipedia.

What to study to become a Botanist

In order to pursue a career in Botany, you are required to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Botany, plant science, plant ecology, biology or conservation biology. Bachelor’s degrees in other related fields, including environmental science, natural resources management, horticulture, agriculture or forestry may also be accepted for some positions. 

After earning a bachelor’s degree in botany or related field, you can pursue a Master’s degree or PhD in Botany, depending on what your career interests are. 

What does a Botanist do?

The Botanical Society of America states that one of the best things about plant science, aka Botany, is the number of different specialties and career opportunities from which botanists can choose!

This branch of biology has job opportunities for many kinds of plant lovers, from different backgrounds, with different interests.

For those who enjoy working outdoors, there are positions available as:

  • Ecologist
  • Taxonomist
  • Conservationist
  • Forester
  • Plant explorer

In addition, the field of botany may take these professionals to work in foreign and exotic lands. 

There are many different areas within botany these professionals can specialize in. For those with a mathematical background, biophysics, developmental botany, genetics, modeling, or systems ecology might be interesting. Becoming a plant physiologist, plant biochemist, molecular biologist, or chemotaxonomist might be something someone with an interest  and knowledge in chemistry might find appealing.

And these are only some of the career opportunities botanists can pursue. This field is as wide as it is necessary for the growth of humankind.

For plant lovers, botany would be a perfect career path! If you love plants and are passionate about learning about them, choosing a bachelor’s degree in botany or another related field would be the right decision for you. Click here to find all the programs available on our website.

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