Plant pathologists deal with the symptoms, causes, damage, spread, and control of plant diseases. They can specialize in mycology, bacteriology, virology, nematology, physiology, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, epidemiology, biotechnology, or biochemistry. They study disease processes and look for genetic, 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 also work for 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 plantoriented) 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 (see the first paragraph).
In high school, take courses in biology, English, chemistry, physics, math, and computer sciences.
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