Plant Geneticist

Plant Geneticist

Plant geneticists conduct research to understand, improve or create new varieties of plants or crops. Looking at a plant’s DNA, they can examine ways to improve shape, size, production level, pesticide and disease tolerance.
What Responsibilities Will I Have?: 
  • Write research plans and objectives
  • Create budgets for research projects and potentially seek funding
  • Cross breed plants to breed new subjects for trials
  • Record data on plants in trials
  • Identify genes that are responsible for certain plant features and functions
  • Stay up-to-date on research
  • Tend to trials grown in greenhouses and fields
  • Maintain thorough records of research conducted
  • Look for ways to genetically engineer crops productively
  • Teach graduate and undergraduate courses
  • Serve as a liaison and spokesperson for government and industry
  • Supervise the work of field and laboratory workers
  • Prepare and publish reports on conducted research
Recommended High School Courses: 
The following high school courses are recommended: agricultural education, a focus on sciences such as chemistry and biology, and mathematics.
Education/Training Required: 
A bachelor’s degree in biology, botany or biochemistry is required. Depending upon the employer and nature of the job, a master’s degree or doctorate (especially if doing research or teaching) may be required.
Future Job Market Outlook: 
Typical Employers: 
Plant geneticists can work for agricultural seed and chemical companies. Some also work in the university setting conducting research and teaching. There are also opportunities to work in the nonprofit sector conducting research to benefit those in areas where it is difficult to grow plants and crops.
Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations: 
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • Global Plant Council
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Bio-tech Industry Association
Average Annual Full-Time Salary: 
$100,000
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Salary data is provided by the AgCareers.com Compensation Benchmark Review™. These salaries should be considered as examples and are provided for educational and exploratory purposes. The salary information provided should not be used as a benchmark. Actual salaries are influenced by numerous variables including but not limited to demographics, size and scope of the role, level of experience, qualifications, and education of the worker.