What does a plant scientist do?
Plant scientists study plants and help food producers conserve natural resources and produce enough crops to feed a growing population. They conduct a variety of research on the physiology, production, breeding, yield, and management of many different crops and plants. They analyze their growth and develop efforts to control pests. They assist in the development of effective methods of planting, cultivating, spraying, and harvesting plants and crops. Plant scientists often help farmers and landowners by providing recommendations to promote the growth of plants and avoid problems. They help create methods for preventing and controlling plant diseases, weeds, and insect infestations. Plant scientists often present their research findings to other professionals and the public.
What kind of training does a plant scientist need?
Plant scientists typically need at least a bachelor degree in plant science, biology, or other related field. Most research positions require at least a master degree. Plant scientists typically complete courses in chemistry, biology, physics, plant pathology, plant physiology, and soil science. Many prospective plant scientists complete internships while pursuing their education to gain practical experience in the field. Most employers provide some on the job training for new plant scientists. Plant scientists must stay abreast on advancements in the field and keep their skills up to date. They often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a plant scientist?
Employment of plant scientists is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increased need for research and advancements in biotechnology will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for plant scientists with advanced education. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace plant scientists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do plant scientists make?
As of December 2009, the average annual salary for plant scientists is $62,000; average annual plant scientist salaries vary greatly on location, industry, company, education, experience, and benefits (2).
A career as a plant scientist is an excellent choice for people with a strong interest in plant science. Plant scientists must have a solid understanding of the principles and practices of plant science and their application to many different tasks. Good problem solving, critical thinking, patience, and determination are essential traits. Plant scientists must also have good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work effectively independently as well as part of a team. They must be able to work in a variety of environments and sometimes less favorable weather conditions.