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Division of Marketing and Development
Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Mayo Building, M-9
407 South Calhoun Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0800
(850) 617-7300

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Adam H. Putnam, Commissioner

Plant Pathologist

Plant pathologists deal with the symptoms, causes, damage, spread, and control of plant diseases. They can specialize in mycology, bacteriology, virology, physiology, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, epidemiology, biotechnology, or biochemistry. They study disease processes and look for biological, chemical, or cultural controls for diseases of the plants we use for food and fiber.

Plant pathologists are university research scientists, teachers, and research technicians. Some work as extension plant pathologists with the Cooperative Extension Service. Government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service hire plant pathologists as research scientists and technicians. Plant pathologists are also hired by companies that develop chemical and biological control products, companies that introduce new varieties of pest-resistant plants, and companies that provide disease control services.

To be a plant pathologist, you need a bachelor's degree in a biological science (preferably plant, oriented) and a master's degree in plant pathology. To be a research scientist, you need a doctoral degree in plant pathology or a related discipline.

In high school, take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, math, and computer sciences.

-- Robert O. Blanchard, University of New Hampshire

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