How to Become a Greenhouse Operator

How To Become a Greenhouse Operator (Manager): Career 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 what you'll need to succeed in a career as a greenhouse operator.


We've also included helpful information for a greenhouse operator career, 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.




Greenhouse Operator 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.



Greenhouse Operator 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 as a Greenhouse Operator

Just because someone hopes to become a greenhouse operator, doesn’t mean they have what it takes to become successful. Below is a list of skills and attributes aspiring greenhouse operators need in order to 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




Greenhouse Operator Salary

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, those working the in Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers occupational group in Alberta earned an average wage of $23.01 to $25.59 per hour.


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, was $60,750 USD per year.


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 Hires 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




Greenhouse Operator Jobs

Our job board below has "Greenhouse Operator" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Career Advancement for Greenhouse Operators

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 for Greenhouse Operators

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.



Careers Similar to Greenhouse Operator

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



Greenhouse Operator Career: Resources

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


Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association website:

Alberta Learning and Information Services website:

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:

Working in Canada website:



Scholarships for Becoming a Greenhouse Operator

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming a Greenhouse Operator 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!



Becoming a Greenhouse Operator: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a greenhouse operator. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


Top Banner Image: