Botany

How to become a Botanist



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If you're interested in becoming a botanist, you most likely have a fascination with plants. Without plants, most life on Earth would ultimately cease to exist. Plants affect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we consume, the medicine we take, and all other living creatures on this planet. To become a botanist, you should pursue aBachelors of Science degree in botany with a biology concentration. Upon receipt of a degree and fieldwork, determine whether or not you want to work for a public or private institution.

FINDING A PROGRAM OF STUDY -Local bookstores and libraries have resources on which colleges and universities offer botany degree programs. Additional information may be found at www.universities.com, www.schoolsintheusa.com, and www.degreeabroad.com. Be sure to seek out scholarship opportunities from organizations especially those groups that support the study of botany. Make sure the school you select provides coursework as follows.BOTANY COURSEWORK -Most botany programs require biology coursework in general, cell, genetics, ecology, physiology, phycology, mycology, and pathology. Elective classes in chemistry, physics and/or mathematics are taken once a concentration is declared. As a learner, you will work outside doing fieldwork, submerged in water studying aquatic plants and in a lab. You will also explore different systems of cells at the molecular level, inherited characteristics at the genetic level and chemical processes at the biochemistry level. Science clubs and internships offer additional experiences related to the study of plant life. Take advantage of these extra-curricular activities whenever you can to network and learn more about the field of botany. UPON GRADUATION - SEEK OUT HIGHER DEGREE? -Scientists with a BS in botany are found working as interpretative naturalists for parks, environmental reclamation technicians for corporations or lab technicians for research facilities. Obtaining a master's degree affords career opportunities in consulting for environmental groups, gardens and farms. A doctorate is necessary for teaching at a university or conducting independent research for either the government or a biotechnology firm.JOB PROSPECTS AND SALARY RANGES -According to the Botanical Society of America, individuals with degrees in botany outnumber current job openings. A candidate specializing in agronomy or biotechnology is more likely to find employment. Agronomists figure out how to use plants not only for food but also for fuel, animal feed and textiles. Biotechnologists genetically engineer agricultural crops or work with ingredients to produce medicine. There is quite a salary spread amongst botanists because someone working at a state park makes considerably less than someone working for a pharmaceutical company, but the range is generally between $33,000 and $142,000 a year.CAREER PATH -Deciding which career path to take requires a botanist to adopt a philosophy on nature. Botanists tend to fall into one of two categories, people who want to preserve nature and people who want to manipulate nature to support new developments. Either way, a botanist recognizes that plants are essential to cycles in nature and nature is vital for human life to continue.

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