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Difference Between Botanist & Florist

People who like working with plants may consider being a botanist or a florist, but these careers are quite different. Botanists do scientific work; florists use their artistic talents and customer service skills.

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Comparing Botanists to Florists

Botanists and florists work with plants, but they provide very different services. Botanists use their scientific skills to identify issues affecting plant life and determine how to protect or strengthen plant species. Florists use flowers and foliage to produce floral displays that people buy.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Botanists Master's or Doctoral Degree $49,458 (2017)** 4% (for all zoologists and wildlife biologists)
Florists High School Diploma or GED $25,850 (2016)* -3% (decline)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Plant Molecular Biology
  • Plant Pathology
  • Plant Physiology

Responsibilities of Botanists vs. Florists

Botanists focus on research in their work. They study plant species and factors that may affect those species, and their work can involve gathering samples, sending the samples to be tested and presenting their findings to others. They have to keep records of their work and inform others about the conclusions of their research. Florists work in customer service and produce bouquets or arrangements for their clients. They look after the plants while they're in the store and explain to customers how to maintain them at home. Their work may also involve ordering plants, taking orders from customers in person or over the phone, and receiving payment from customers.

Botanists

Botanists are scientists that specialize in plant biology, so the work that they do requires most professionals to complete graduate studies, with a doctoral degree being the most common level of education; but it is possible to enter the field with a bachelor's degree. Their work can be used for purposes such as helping determine how to eliminate diseases that affect plants. Their work can play a key role in restoring declining plant populations or improving the quality of produce grown for consumption.

Job responsibilities of a botanist include:

  • Researching issues related to the focus of their study
  • Traveling to locations to collect samples
  • Identifying how to protect crops from pests
  • Preparing information about how to grow plants effectively
  • Writing reports and presenting their findings to employers

Florists

A high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training are normally required to become a florist. Florists benefit from having artistic skills so that they can make bouquets or other types of arrangements using flowers and foliage. Their work requires them to have extensive knowledge of the different types of plants they sell. They typically work for florists or in places like grocery stores and may work evenings, weekends and holidays. Since they work in retail environments it's helpful if they have good communication skills.

Job responsibilities of a florist include:

  • Growing plants and flowers
  • Caring for flowers in their shop
  • Suggesting and preparing arrangements for clients
  • Ensuring the customers' order arrives on time
  • Explaining to customers how to care for flowers

Related Careers

For anyone thinking about a career as a botanist, becoming a conservation scientist may also be an option. Conservation scientists help protect natural resources and they perform research as part of their work. If a career as a florist sounds appealing, another career option might be to become a set designer, since set designers use their artistic talents to do things such as arrange materials to make props for film, TV or theatre sets.

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