How to Become a Horticulturalist

 

Career Path 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 occupational information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

Education Needed to Become a Horticulturalist

You'll likely need a diploma or an undergraduate degree in horticulture, agriculture, botany, management or a related field.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

General Job Description

Horticulturalists are concerned with the efficient growth, design and distribution of flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables. They 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.

 

 

Typical 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

 

 

 

 

Typical Salary Level

The salary level of horticulturalists can vary, typically depending on the following factors:

 

• Their level of education and experience

• The size, type and budget of their employer, or of the project

• Their wage and salary negotiating abilities 

• The region in which they work

• The scope of responsibilities involved in their job

 

Horticulturalist Salary - Canada: According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, those working the in Agricultural representatives, consultants and specialists occupational group (which is the most closely related occupational group available from ALIS) in Alberta earn an average salary of $92,817 per year. According to WorkBC, those in the same occupational group working in B.C. earn a median salary of $64,334. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (Sept. 24, 2019).

 

Horticulturalist Salary - United States: 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 Agricultural and Food Scientists, (which is the most closely related occupational group available from the BLS), is $64,020 USD per year (2018 figures).

 

 

Who Employs Horticulturalists?

Horticulturalists can be employed 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

• Greenhouses

• Landscaping companies

 

 

Horticulturalist Job Postings - Current Opportunities

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

 

 

 

Career Advancement Possibilities

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. 

 

 

Similar Careers in Our Database

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

 

Farmer

Florist

Greenhouse Operator

Market Gardener

Range Manager

 

 

References

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of this profession:

 

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

WorkBC website: www.workbc.ca

 

 

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:

 

Canada

Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association

Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association

Canadian Organic Growers

Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance

Flowers Canada Growers

 

United States

Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers

Master Florists Association

Society of American Florists

The Association of Horticultural Professionals

United Flower Growers Co-operative Association

 

 

Scholarships for Becoming a Horticulturalist

Scholarships in our database that are relevant for becoming a horticulturalist are all of those that can be found on our Biology Scholarships and Botany Scholarships pages.

 

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 is an excellent starting point for getting into this profession. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!

 

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