Plant Scientist

Develop a new strain of corn. Triple crop yields. Research disease-resistance. If this sounds exciting, you may enjoy a career as a plant scientist.

Work as a plant scientist or plant breederWhat Does a Career as a Plant Scientist Look Like?

Plant scientists perform research in the breeding, health, nutritional value, production, yield and management of crops and agricultural plants, trees, shrubs or ornamentals.

A career as an agroecology specialist usually entails:

  • Plant research and communication of research results to agricultural clients.
  • Innovation of new plant breeds or seed development.
  • Formulation and delivery of recommendations for optimal plant production and cultivation.
  • Development of environmentally safe methodology for weed control, fertilization, disease resistance, or deterrence of pests.
  • Educational efforts, both to clients and to the public or education audiences.

To work in this field, you need to have a good grasp of plant biology, soil science, mathematics and research best practices. You will be expected to know how to propose, plan, execute, analyse and document research projects.

Plant Scientist Salary and Forecast

Those working in plant scientist positions earn a state median salary of $64,140 (as of 2016).

plant scientist salary

Job opportunities in the industry are growing at a rate of 5-8%, with North Carolina leading the way with a job opportunity growth rate of 16.2%.

plant scientist job forecast

What Education is Required to Work as a Plant Scientist?

Plant scientist positions require a bachelor’s degree. Approximately a quarter require a master’s degree, and close to 15% require a doctoral degree.

plant scientist education requirements

Explore the many related educational programs available at NC State here:

  • Majors, Minors & Certificates

Plant Scientist Job Opportunities

There are many different types of plant scientist jobs to choose from. The following are just a few of the common job titles graduates qualify for:

  • Plant Breeder
  • Biotechnology Specialist
  • Agricultural Chemical Research and Development Specialist

Explore plant scientist job opportunities.

Ready to Get Started?

Innovate a new crop. Improve disease resistance. Jumpstart your career by applying to a soil science program today.