How To Become a Horticulturalist: Career Guide
To become a horticulturalist you need a combination of having an interest for working outdoors, the ability to perform physical labour, industry experience and training, the proper skill set, education, and knowing where to look for a job.
Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a horticulturalist.
We've also included helpful information for a horticulturalist career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!
Education Needed to Become a Horticulturalist
Typically, you need a diploma or an undergraduate degree in horticulture, agriculture, botany, management or a related field if you wish to become a horticulturalist.
Even if an employer doesn’t require formal post-secondary education in these fields to earn an entry-level position, it can still be of great benefit to have. For example, coursework in areas such as botany can provide you with knowledge related to proper growing conditions for crops and various causes of plant disease.
Pursuing coursework in business or the arts is a great way to develop communication skills such as writing and creating presentations.
Horticulturalist Job Description
Horticulturalists are concerned with the efficient growth, design and distribution of flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. Horticulturalists may work in fields, greenhouses, nurseries, laboratories, academic institutions or may be employed as consultants. Horticulturalists are also often concerned with the research, marketing and financial aspects of horticultural businesses.
Horticulturalist Job Duties
• Spread fertilizer
• Perform weeding and planting functions
• Perform market research in order to determine which plants, trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables or other products to grow
• May perform marketing duties in order to sell products
• Maintain current knowledge of developments, discoveries and trends in the industry
• May perform laboratory research and test new materials
• May instruct in colleges or universities
• May publish academic works
According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, those working the in Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers occupational group (which includes horticulturalists) in Alberta earned an average wage of $23.01 to $25.59 per hour.
As far as figures for horticulturalist salaries in the Unites States are concerned, the U.S Labor and Statistics reports that the median salary for Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers, which includes greenhouse operators, was $60,750 USD per year.
Please Note: Salary levels can vary considerably for horticulturalists, depending on the level of education, who the employer is (or if they are self-employed), and the amount of experience.
Who Hires Horticulturalists?
Horticulturalists can be hired by any organization that is concerned with the growth, processing, trade, conservation or study of various types of plants. They may also be employed by organizations that utilize plants for design purposes. These employers typically include:
• Agricultural or horticultural product companies
• Architectural firms
• Conservation organizations
• Educational institutes
• Farming corporations
• Garden centres
• Government agencies
• Landscaping companies
Our job board below has "Horticulturalist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Career Advancement for Horticulturalists
With a combination of having the right attitude, dedication to work, advanced education in the fields of horticulture, management, agriculture, botany or related fields, as well as industry experience, horticulturalists may move into consulting, research, management, educational, quality control or ownership positions.
Careers Similar to Horticulturalist
Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Horticulturalist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
References: Horticulturalist Career
Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a Horticulturalist.
Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association website: agga.ca
Alberta Learning and Information Services website: alis.alberta.ca
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov
Professional Horticultural Associations
Professional horticultural associations are collections of practitioners, organizations and agencies committed to the support, development and enhancement of horticultural professions. Professional horticultural associations support ethics in related professions, report current research findings within the field, and foster partnerships among its members.
Below are some of the numerous benefits to becoming a member of a professional horticultural association.
• Demonstrate professional commitments as a horticulturalist
• Maintain current awareness of industry developments and trends
• May be able to take professional horticultural or design courses
• May be able to participate in industry research projects and/or policy decisions
• Networking opportunities: Meet potential employers, partners and mentors
• Learn about employment and professional experience opportunities
• May be entitled to discounts from sponsors
• Nominate yourself or others for industry awards
• Set yourself apart from other qualified applicants
Anyone interested in becoming a horticulturalist should visit these websites for more information:
Scholarships for Becoming a Horticulturalist
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Becoming a Horticulturalist: Applicable Majors
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a horticulturalist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!