Botanical Technician: Job Description and Career Advancement Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed for a career as a botanical technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, training and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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A botanical technician is a career for someone who enjoys plants and gardening. Their work includes caring for plants, conducting research, and examining and documenting plant environments. They may also teach others how to care for plants and work with equipment.

Essential Information

Botanical technician jobs are found in the agriculture industry, at botanical gardens, and with landscape companies. Botanical technicians perform tasks that are primarily associated with the cultivation, growth, propagation and documentation of various plant species. These professionals often hold a degree in biology, botany, horticulture or other related fields.

Required Education Associate's degree at minimum; bachelor's or graduate degree for advancement
Other Requirements Previous work experience
Certification Voluntary
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5% for agricultural and food science technicians*, 5% for life, physical and social science technicians*
Median Salary (2015) $36,480 for agricultural technicians*, $41,650 for biological technicians*, $60,050 for plant and soil scientists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Job Description

Botanical technicians may conduct research, plan surveys, care for plants, examine plant environments and record the development and distribution of plant species. This is an important way to identify potentially invasive species that may inhibit the growth of indigenous plants or disrupt a healthy ecosystem. The ability to recognize plants by sight is a very useful skill for botanical technicians.

Educational institutions rely on botanical technicians to produce and maintain gardens that are conducive to instruction and study. Garden curators work closely with administrators and faculty members to achieve the ideal botanical facility that fits a corresponding curriculum. Accordingly, technicians may apply fertilizers, nurture greenhouses and train teachers and students to properly care for plants and operate equipment. These professionals may also label plants, manage inventory and help boost productivity and sales.

Education

Aspiring botanical technicians may study botany, agricultural or food science, landscaping, or horticulture. Associate's degree programs are offered by vocational and technical colleges. A botanical technician looking to advance may consider earning a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree. Courses may range from biochemistry to soil science, and students may be required to complete lab and research projects while in school.

Career Advancement Info

Botanists who have done further studies also choose to become conservationists, crop plant genetic engineers, landscape architects, forest ecologists and soil scientists. Botanical technicians may also consider earning voluntary certifications, such as those offered by the Soil Science Society of America, in order to demonstrate their understanding in the field and enhance their job opportunities. To earn certifications, candidates may need to have completed education and work experience requirements, as well as pass a qualifying exam.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, the median annual wage for agricultural and food science technicians, who may include botanical technicians, was $36,480. Biological technicians' median salary was $41,650, while plant scientists earned $60,050. In 2014, the BLS predicted average job growth of 5% for agricultural and food science technicians through 2024. Job growth for biological technicians and other life, physical and social science technicians is expected to be 5% (average) between 2014-2024.

A botanical technician usually requires an associate's degree. Those working in this field may choose certification, which is voluntary and not required. Those considering career advancement may consider a bachelor's or master's degree preparing them for positions in fields such as conservationists, forest ecologists, and soil scientists.

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