Career in Plant Pathology
Plant Pathology is a branch of agricultural science that deals with the study of fungi, bacteria, viruses, nematodes, and other microbes that cause diseases of plants.
The branch focuses on understanding how hosts, pathogens, and environments interact to cause plant diseases and on understanding how to control plant diseases.
A plant pathologist is a person who specializes in plant health much similar to a physician who specializes in human health or a veterinarian in animal health.
With this agricultural technology option, students who wish to work for various commodity, seed, and agri-chemical industries learn to apply these principles to scientific agriculture and plant medicine.
Under the biotechnology option, students learn to apply these principles to modern biology and plant medicine. The latter option is recommended for students who wish to go on to graduate school or go to work right away in biotechnological firms, universities, or research laboratories.
Read: Career in Stock Broking
Plant Pathology Eligibility Criteria
In India, there are 34 state agricultural universities, 3 deemed agricultural universities and 3 central universities offering courses in different disciplines of agricultural science at undergraduate and postgraduate level.
Apart from offering Plant Pathology as an optional subject, few universities offer specialized course in Plant Pathology both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. There are total of 16 agricultural universities in India having separate department of plant pathology.
Most of the agricultural universities in India offer bachelors and masters programs in Plant Pathology. Students after completing +2 Science (with Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Biology, Ag. Sc. etc) can opt for Bachelor of Science course in Plant Science with specialization in plant pathology, and options either in agricultural technology or biotechnology.
One can also pursue allied course like Entomology, Nematology, and Weed Sciences etc to become a scientist/expert in the field. For masters program in Plant Protection/ Plant Pathology/ Entomology/ Nematology and Weed sciences subjects, candidates have to pass their Bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences or in agriculture, under 10+2+3 or 10+2+4 pattern.
Candidates must have obtained at least 60% marks or its equivalent overall grade point average (OGPA) for general category and for SC/ST/PH 55% marks or equivalent OGPA.
The admission can be obtained through All India Combined Entrance and State level Entrance Examinations conducted separately. The All India Entrance is being held regularly by the ICAR that also provides the JRF scholarships to students.
Plant Pathology Career Prospects
The scope of employment for Plant Pathology graduates is available both at public and private sectors. One can also start his/her business after completing the course.
Plant Pathology graduates can join as a Plant Geneticist, Plant Breeder, Aquatic Botanist, Limnologist, Physiologist, Plant Pathologist, Professor, Consultant, and Agricultural Engineer or Inspector at district and state level.
Employment opportunities are also available in areas like research, product development, sales, teaching, extension, administration, regulatory work, and private practice etc.
Plant Pathology Pay Package
Plant pathologists find jobs mainly in research labs, agricultural development organizations under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) as well as in universities as teachers/professors. The salary varies between Rs 15, 000 – Rs 25,000.
One who qualifies Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) can perform research work in this field. The fellowship is Rs 10, 000 per month.
The average annual salary of a Plant Health Management associate in foreign countries including US varies from $25,000-$45,000.
Where Do Plant Pathologists Work?
- Colleges and universities (research, teaching, and extension)
- Agricultural consulting companies
- Diagnostic laboratories
- Botanical gardens and arboreta
- Biotechnology firms
- Nurseries and garden centers
- USDA-Agricultural Research Service
- USDA-Forest Service
- USDA-Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service
- EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
- State departments of agriculture
Plant Pathology Institutes/Universities
- Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana
Courses Offered: M. Sc. and Ph. D. programs in Plant Pathology and M. Sc. in Nematology
Note: Please check agricultural universities in various states that are offering courses in Plant Pathology. Below is the list of all universities in different states.
- Andhra Pradesh
- Arunachal Pradesh
- Himachal Pradesh
- Jammu & Kashmir
- Madhya Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- Uttar Pradesh
- West Bengal