How to Become a Greenhouse Operator


Career Path Guide

Becoming a greenhouse operator takes a combination of industry experience, the proper skill set, and knowing where to look for a job. Below, we've outlined everything you'll need to know to get started on your path towards this profession.


We've also included helpful occupational information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Greenhouse Operator

Depending on the employer, you may need a diploma or an undergraduate degree in horticulture, agriculture, botany, management or a related field if you wish to become a greenhouse operator.


Even if an employer doesn’t require formal post-secondary education in these fields, 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.





General Job Description

Greenhouse operators are responsible for planning and directing the work activities of greenhouse staff. They must ensure that flowers are propagated, grown and marketed properly and efficiently. Greenhouse operators may run wholesale and retail horticultural organizations ranging in size from small family operations to operations that employ upwards of 50 people.



Typical Job Duties

• Determine the types and quantities of plants to grow such as bedding plants, cut or potted flowers, vegetables and other plant varieties

• Operate and maintain various pieces of equipment such as water treatment machines, carbon dioxide generators and ultraviolet sterilizers

• Supervise employees who plant, transplant, prune and feed plants

• Identify and control problems being caused by insects, rodents, disease and nutritional deficiencies

• Plan and develop irrigation systems

• Perform basic maintenance and structural repairs to greenhouse

• Develop and implement marketing plans 



Skills Needed to Succeed

Below is a list of skills and attributes that you'll need in order to be effective and ultlmately succeed as a greenhouse operator.


• Strong interest in plants and working with plants

• Problem solving skills

• Ability to delegate work and make difficult decisions

• Proficiency in various computer programs, such as inventory tracking systems

• Manual dexterity can be helpful when dealing with plants and equipment

• Lack of allergies to plants, pollen and various chemicals

• Attentive to details

• Industry specific knowledge and skills





Typical Salary Level

According to the 2016 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey (the most current figures available at the time of writing - August 7, 2019), those working the in "Managers in Horticulture" occupational group in Alberta earn an average salary of $59,186 per year.


In the United States the salary numbers are a little more difficult to determine, as it is very difficult to acquire accurate information regarding the salary levels of greenhouse operators specifically. The U.S Labor and Statistics reports that the median salary for Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers, which includes greenhouse operators, is $67,950 USD per year (May, 2018 figures).


Please note: Salary levels can vary considerably for greenhouse operators, depending on the level of education, who the employer is (or if they are self-employed), and the amount of experience.



How to Get a Job as a Greenhouse Operator

Getting a job as a greenhouse operator typically requires experience as a junior-level greenhouse employee. If you have all of the necessary skills and experience needed to become a greenhouse operator, you can begin contacting employers to express interest in becoming part of their team!


Success Tip: If you’re having trouble finding the names of employers, go to local flower shops and ask where they get their produce from…you can apply for a job with their supplier!



Who Employs Greenhouse Operators?

Greenhouse operators can be hired by any organization that grows flowers and other plants for commercial or retail purposes. These employers typically include:


• Agricultural companies

• Florists

• Lawn and garden centres

• Privately owned greenhouses

• Service firms to agriculture

• Supermarkets that operate seasonal greenhouses and nurseries



Current Job Postings

Our job board below has "greenhouse operator" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, when available:




Career Advancement Opportunities

Greenhouse operators typically begin their careers in entry-level positions and may work their way up to supervisory or management positions. With enough knowledge and experience they may also start their own horticultural business.


Career advancement typically depends on the level of experience of the greenhouse employee, their attitude, and the availability of supervisory positions. Career advancement opportunities beyond the greenhouse operator level are limited and typically require additional training in the areas of science and business.



Work Conditions Typical to This Profession

Typically, the work conditions for greenhouse operators don’t tend to vary all that much from one organization to another. Differences in working conditions can exist however, depending on factors such as what types of horticultural or agricultural products are grown, which season it is, and the size of the greenhouse or business operation.


Hours of work: The hours of work for greenhouse operators are often irregular, and days can be very long, particularly in the prime growing seasons of spring and summer.


Job hazards: Operating and repairing machinery and equipment can be quite hazardous in a greenhouse, as can working with chemicals and pruning or picking at heights in excess of five feet above the ground.


Work environment: Greenhouse operators typically work either in greenhouses, which can vary in temperature but are generally quite humid, or they can work in offices, which may or may not utilize climate control.



Similar Occupations in Our Database

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to "greenhouse operator", as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.





Market Gardener

Range Manager




Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a greenhouse operator.


Occupations in Alberta:Greenhouse Operator.” (January 28, 2013). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 19, 2019.

Management:Farmers, Ranchers, and Other Agricultural Managers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 19, 2019.

Labour Market Information:Managers in Horticulture.” (n.d.) Government of Newfoundland website - Department of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour. Retrieved December 19, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Greenhouse Operator

The scholarships in our database that are relevant for becoming a greenhouse operator are all of those can be found on the following pages:


Botany Scholarships

Environmental Engineering Scholarships

Environmental Science Scholarships


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!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below can serve as an excellent educational foundation for this career:


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