How to Become a Botanical Field Technician


Becoming a botanical field technician takes a combination of education, the proper skill set, and knowing where to look for a job. Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in this profession. 


We've also included helpful information for a botanical field technician career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Educational Requirements

In order to get a job as a botanical field technician (also known as botanical technologists), applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree in botany or a closely related field, such as biology.


Within the botany or biology degree, taking courses in fields such as mathematics and computer science can be of great benefit to aspiring botanical field technicians. These courses will be helpful for future botanical field technician career applications, such as modeling and simulating biological processes.


Having experience with laboratory processes and equipment (such as automated cell counters, robotic laboratory equipment, fluorometers, microscopes, scales and polymerase chain reaction PCR equipment) is extremely important to many employers in the field. Many employers won’t even call you in for an interview without it.


Luckily, there are many opportunities within botany and biology degree programs to gain laboratory experience within regular coursework, and lab-specific coursework. To gain further experience, it is beneficial to work in research labs on campus. This is an excellent opportunity to work directly with professors and other faculty members, and may lead to additional course credit.


Tip for Success: Working directly with professors and faculty members is a great way to network!


Most colleges and universities in Canada and the United States offer a biology program, and many of them allow you to customize your course load to some extent, based on your career goals and interests.





General Job Description

Botanical field technicians are responsible for assisting botanists and other professionals working in agricultural and plant biology by providing technical support. They apply knowledge in plant physiology to perform tasks that are associated with the cultivation, growth, propagation and documentation of various plant species. 



Typical Job Duties

• Conduct research projects

• Plan and conduct surveys

• Assisting in manuscript and grant writing

• Record the development and distribution of plant species Identify potentially invasive species that may inhibit the growth of indigenous plants or disrupt a healthy ecosystem

• May produce and maintain gardens that are conducive to instruction and study on behalf of educational institutions

• May work closely with school administrators to achieve the ideal botanical facility that fits a corresponding curriculum

• May train teachers and students to properly care for plants and operate equipment

• Apply fertilizers and nurture greenhouses

• Test the chemicals produced by different plants to help scientists find new uses for them.



How to Get a Job as a Botanical Field Technician

Now that you've acquired an education, laboratory skills and research career experience, you're a shoe-in! The last thing you have to do is nail the interview...but with who? Your last step to becoming a botanical field technician is to make a list of possible employers and suitable positions, and start handing out resumes.


Do your research and figure out which companies are hiring for botanical field technician and related positions; these employers will be in a variety of sectors.



Who Employs Botanical Field Technicians?

Your best bet of landing a job as a botanical field technician is to approach employers in your area within the following categories. Call them directly and ask to speak to the hiring manager, as getting the attention of the decision maker can be your best chance to gain employment opportunities, even if they're not posted!


• Agricultural research agencies/firms

• Biological photography companies

• Biological supply companies

• Biotechnology firms

• Botanical gardens and arboretums

• Colleges, universities, and plant research centers

• Ecological consulting companies

• Environmental and biotechnical regulatory agencies

• Environmental impact research and assessment organizations

• Federal biological/botanical agencies

• Federal department of agriculture

• Fruit Growers

• Greenhouses

• Landscape management and design companies

• Marine/freshwater biological organizations

• Museums and conservatories

• National, state/provincial parks

• Petrochemical, chemical, and lumber and paper companies

• Pharmaceutical firms

• Science journals


Average Salary Level

It's difficult to determine how much Botanical Field Technicians make, as it is very difficult to acquire information regarding the salary levels of Botanical Field Technicians, the U.S Labor and Statistics reports that the average wage for Environmental Science Technicians, who typically perform duties very similar to those of Botanical Technicians, was $46,170 USD per year, the median pay for Biological Technicians in May of 2018 was $44,500 USD.


In Canada, the numbers are a little different. According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Biological Technicians in Alberta earned an average salary of $71,632 CAD per year. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (June 21, 2019).


Note: Salary levels can vary greatly for Botanical Field Technicians, depending on the level of education, who the employer is, and the amount of experience of the technician.





Gain Relevant Career Experience as a Student

Landing an internship opportunity, working with professors and other faculty on research projects, or getting a summer job in botany or biology career fields are all great ways to add beef to your resume. Speak to your school's career services office, as well as your Botany or Biology professors and other faculty, in order to learn about any available positions. 



Career Advancement Possibilities

With a few years of experience working as a technician or after earning a masters or doctorate degree, botanical field technicians may be able to advance to scientist positions, such as botanist.


Botanical field technicians can also earn professional certifications, such as those offered by the Soil Science Society of America. These certifications demonstrate their professional skills and competencies, as well as their commitment to their profession.


To earn certifications, candidates may need to have completed education and work experience requirements, as well as pass a qualifying exam.



Similar Occupational Profiles in Our Database

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to botanical field technician, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.



Environmental Technician

Forest Technician

Greenhouse Operator

Laboratory Manager




Current Job Opportunities in the Field

Our job board below has botanical field technician postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:





Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a botanical field technician.


Occupations in Alberta:Biological Technician.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 29, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook:Biological Technicians.” (September 4, 2019).  Life, Physical, and Social Science - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 29, 2019.

Environmental Professional Certification:Benefits of Certification.” (n.d.). Canadian Environmental Certification Approvals Board website - Government of Canada. Retrieved October 29, 2019.


Please Note: Much of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.




Relevant Scholarships

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a botanical field technician can be found on our Biology Scholarships and Botany Scholarships pages.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for getting started in this line of work. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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