Green Careers: A Guide to Jobs in Plant Biology (2022)

Jobs in Plant Biology Feature Image from Canva of a persons hands holding soil and a seedling

Plants are essential to humans and animals, and the level of use of plants is on a high pedestal. Inarguably, it is one of the reasons why the concept of plant biology can never become extinct. It would always have relevance because of the purpose plants serve – they play a significant role in the ecosystem, amongst other things. 

Science is a vast field that studies the physical and natural elements of the world by observing changes and the composition of matter.

However, plant biology or plant science is the various scientific research that explores the growth and features of plants, the metabolism and biochemistry of plant life, how plants respond to different weather changes, and the development of food and other plant products.

Although there is a long list of plant biology jobs that you can explore, studying plant science can help you gain the real-life knowledge and experience needed in other fields, such as medicine, pathology, and so on. For this guide, we turned to some of the experts in the field of plant biology from job aggregator Jooble to elucidate the opportunities for jobs in plant biology. 

Let’s delve into the details!

7  Botany Careers and Jobs in Plant Biology to Consider

1. Agricultural Manager

A popular job opportunity you can explore if you study plant biology is agricultural management. Agricultural managers are responsible for the development of crops, overseeing animals and other items produced from the farm that can be sold to organizations or private consumers. Their scope of work depends on the size of the farm they manage. 

Agricultural managers usually work full-time. They work towards maximizing profits and go the extra mile to minimize losses on the crops produced. They are also decision makers and manage the policies and day to day running of the farm. 

Agricultural managers prepare budgets for the farm and keep sales records. They hire workers and ensure the maintenance of the farm. Apart from studying plant biology, they must also possess good communication and decision-making skills in marketing and farm operations. The United States Bureau of Statistics reported that there would be a 6% job growth in agricultural managers, farmers, and ranchers between 2019 and 2029.

Agricultural manager in a red check shirt, talking on the phone and looking at a tablet with pastures and cows in the background

2. Naturalist

Naturalists are the ones that oversee the practical aspects of what students are taught about the protection of plants and animals. Naturalists help people to appreciate plants and guide them against misuse, encouraging a sustainable ecosystem- how it can be established and maintained. 

Naturalists are mostly involved in teaching people how to preserve forests, rivers, parks, etc. They are often creative in how they teach. Besides teaching students, they also provide consultation and advice to the government, private organizations, and companies. They usually work at parks and recreation centers. The government also hires them to work at the Ministry of Environment, some at the Department of Natural Resources. Naturalists earn between $39,230 and $100,350 annually based on their experience level.

3. Biotechnologist 

Working as a biotechnologist is one of the top jobs you can get in plant biology. A biotechnologist with sufficient knowledge in plant biology uses live plants to design brand-new biological products. They focus mainly on the improvement of the functions of plants. They can be likened to inventors because of their ability to perform experiments in the laboratory and develop new materials like medicines, biofuels, bioplastics, etc., using plants. 

You have to pass through the entry-level research assistant position before progressing to being a biotechnologist. The skills required include innovation, analytical and articulate. Biotechnologists are responsible for setting up laboratory equipment and conducting research. They record data and prepare reports which generate the design of new products. They usually work in hospitals, genetic engineering companies, and food companies. 

Take a look at this video by Exploring Plants to see what one plant biotechnologist’s lab looks like:

4. Plant Geneticist

Plant biology also offers a job in plant genetics. Plant geneticists, also known as plant breeders, deal with researching plants and crops to improve their existence. They look into the DNA of plants and crops to create new species. 

Plant geneticists work on improving plants’ nutritional value, size, appearance, and increased disease tolerance. They achieve all these by conducting research that has been thoroughly planned, including the cost and the methodology. After their study, they cross plants to create new varieties, which are subjected to trials. They analyze and assess their results and record their discoveries which are subsequently published and submitted to funding bodies and other scientists.

 Some skills you must have as a plant geneticist include curiosity, ability to reason, good communication, attention to detail, and team spirit. Plant geneticists are usually hired by the government, pharmaceutical companies, food companies, biotechnology companies, agribusiness companies, private research firms, etc. They earn around $58,450 annually. 

5. Florist

Florists are usually creative people who have a flair for designs. They design bouquets and arrange flowers for different occasions like weddings, birthdays, graduation, vacation, dates, and proposals. Their knowledge of plant biology aids their choice of flowers for different occasions. 

Florists work with interior decorators and event planners to beautify a particular place. They are also hired by businesses to decorate their conference halls and offices. You must possess the patience, good communication skills, politeness, joviality, and friendliness to excel at this job.

Jobs in Plant Biology - florist arranging flowers in a flower shop

6. Food Science Technician

You can also work as a food science technician if you have a degree in plant biology. Food science technicians are essential to our world because of the purpose they serve. Food is of essence to man, animals, and even plants. 

A food science technician’s job is to assist food scientists and food technologists in carrying out research and conducting tests to determine the physical and chemical properties of food and ensure that its nutrients, color, and texture are not harmful and in compliance with food regulatory agencies. 

The laboratory work of a food technician is to test food items and ensure it tallies with the nutrient information provided. Food science technicians must know the different techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food and storage. They ensure the absence of bacteria that can result in foodborne illness. 

Government food agencies, production, and manufacturing companies hire food science technicians. They earn up to $58,270 per annum. Some food technicians also help with developing new food recipes. 

7. Plant Pathologist

With a degree in plant biology, you can also land a job as a plant pathologist. Plant pathologists are specialized in studying plant diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. They also look into the impact of the plant on their surrounding environment. 

Suppose a plant is suspected or diagnosed with a disease. In that case, these professionals will conduct a series of tests and explore possible ways to eradicate such diseases. The average salary of a plant pathologist is around $63,200 per year.

Government, universities, and private companies hire plant pathologists, while some professionals prefer to work as freelance consultants. Other jobs you can explore with a degree in plant biology include lecturing, research assistant, computational biologist, etc. Plant Pathologist in lab with test tubes

Final Thoughts on Jobs in Plant Biology 

Plant biology is good for humanity— it provides food and medicine and opens doors to diverse career opportunities. Hence, the need for you to capitalize on your interest and focus on it. Before you know it, you are on the pathway to success. 

About the Author

Brian Danton is a professional copywriter interested in the modern labor market, technology, and innovations. As a Jooble expert, he is always eager to learn how those three influence each other and set new trends. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What level of education can secure a job in plant biology?

There are some jobs in plant biology you can get without a degree. A florist, for example, does not necessarily need a degree. However, most plant biology jobs require a Bachelor of Science degree. Some might even require that you have a Masters’ degree or Doctoral degree before you can work; examples are lecturing and research assistant jobs. Check out the full guide for more on the various careers in plant biology to consider.

Where can you find a job in plant biology?

There are various places you can work if you have a degree in plant biology. You can work in ministries and departments under the government, teach or do research at universities and colleges, work for private organizations, and in food production and manufacturing companies. You can also be self-employed or work for non-profits. Check out the full guide for more on the job options in plant biology.

What are the highest paying jobs in plant biology?

Jobs in plant biology offer good pay. Some of the highest-paying jobs include naturalists and agricultural managers. Naturalists earn up to $100,350 a year, while agricultural managers make an average of $68,090 annually. Check out the full guide for more on careers in plant biology.

References

Botanical Society of America: Careers in Botany 

EnvironmentalScience.org: What Is a Plant Biologist?

University of Oklahoma: Careers in Plant Biology

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