A Horticulture Degree can open a world of opportunities for you. In this article, we will find out what exactly can you do with a Horticulture Degree. So, let’s dive right in.
The huge potential in the Horticulture industry attracts lots of gardening enthusiasts and nature lovers. Evidently, we share an ancient bond with nature. For countless generations, plants have provided us food and shelter.
Today, we can grow a wide variety of plants in the most innovative ways. And this is all thanks to the advancements in Horticulture. Over the years, the industry has grown exponentially. So much that there are opportunities that you may not even know exist!
With a Horticulture degree, you can explore a wide range of opportunities. You will be spoilt for choice. The industry offers careers in management, marketing, production, education and research. Most graduates even start businesses like landscaping companies, greenhouses, gardens, parks, nurseries and so much more.
Although most jobs in the industry require a college degree, some may not. For instance, gardening and landscape companies employ applicants with a 4-year college degree. These professionals are paid much higher than those without a degree. However, some universities offer 2- or 3-year degrees.
Career options with a Horticulture Degree
With a Horticulture Degree, you can secure a career in nursery and greenhouse production, education, research, landscaping, management, food science, genetic engineering and much more. So, let’s discover the career options.
Jobs in production include managing and operating a business. Such as a nursery, greenhouse, garden center, flower and plant shops, landscaping agencies, orchard or even a farm.
Landscaping and Management
This usually consists of construction of landscapes for commercial and residential projects. Notably, it requires knowledge of hardscape and softscape elements and how to use them together. Softscape elements are the living elements like plants, grass and shrubs. Whereas, hardscape elements make up the non-living elements like patios, ornaments and stonework.
Moreover, they need to interpret blueprints and drawings. They also do the cost estimation. This ensures that needs are fulfilled with the budget in mind. Very often, companies also offer maintenance services for landscapes. This includes taking care of all the plants and trees as well as the hardscape.
Landscape Design includes all aspects of designing and implementing a landscape. As we saw earlier, this can be either for residential or commercial areas. Landscape Designers create green spaces while achieving aesthetic goals. Moreover, they apply soil science and plant physiology based on site conditions.
Besides, they also select the right combination of plants and products for a sustainable design. This ensures that the landscape stays put in the long term. Based on their experience, they are hired as landscape architects or managers. However, most entry-level professionals find it easy to get landscape projects.
Indeed, it’s a satisfying and rewarding career for people to bring life to living spaces. Generally, clients range from homeowners to residential communities as well as large enterprises. Most professionals require a Horticulture Degree in this career.
Public Gardens and Green Spaces
As the name says, this involves managing the landscapes and plants in public gardens and green spaces. What better way to display your creativity to the world?
Another popular career option for Horticulturists. As the name says, pest management is all about studying pests and protecting plants from them. In-depth knowledge of pests helps growers protect their plants from pests. Moreover, you should also be aware of local regulations on use of pesticides and other chemicals.
This includes working with local regulatory bodies to control usage of chemicals. For instance, testing whether supplies like pesticides and fertilizers meet the regulations. All these apply to product suppliers, manufacturers and related companies.
Ultimately, the goal is to find the best practices to promote growth and reduce damage by pests. It involves the removal of pests in the safest way possible. Ideally, without using any harmful pesticides or chemicals. Naturally, they recommend pest control options to clients. This may involve agricultural products and supplies to repel pests.
Plant pathologists perform lab experiments on plants. Primarily, the goal is to study them under various conditions. These studies can then be used to develop better versions of the plant. In other words, this helps increase crop yields and resistance to diseases and pests.
Collecting soil and plant samples is very crucial for analysis. Which in turn demands for travel to client locations. Your analysis could help growers improve their crop yields. Truly, an amazing way to contribute to the industry.
If you’re open to travel to tend to customers plants, then this career is for you. Usually, this involves ways to ensure that plants are well-maintained and disease free. Hence, they always carry gardening tools, supplies and equipment. You may be required to revisit from time to time to examine plants and take samples for analysis. Moreover, tending to customer demands of new ornamental plants is crucial.
This role involves all kinds of ornamental plants to beautify landscapes. Ornamental plants bring life to a garden with vibrant colours, textures and aromas. Usually, they work at nurseries, florist stores, landscaping companies, garden centers or greenhouses.
With the wide variety of ornamental plants, you will be spoilt for choice. Hence, it can be a challenging task to pick the right combination of plants. Designing bouquets, flower beds and ornamental displays are some of the tasks. Moreover, you should be open to explore new ways to design them for any kind of setting. Lastly, its crucial to share plant care tips with the customers.
Managers are responsible for smooth operations of nurseries, greenhouses and garden centers. By this I mean the complete solution to any kind of issues that may arise. Thus, managers need to be prepared for the worst.
Sometimes, you will need to manage and hire new employees as the demand grows. You should always be on the lookout for new techniques and technologies. Further, they also analyse data to ensure maximum yields and profits. However, such roles are popular at large-scale companies. Smaller greenhouses, on the other hand, may need to handle every aspect of management.
Some of the duties include:
- Soil Selection
- Selecting fertilizers and nutrients
- Choosing the right tools and equipment
- Monitoring employees through every stage of plant growth
- Reporting yields and profits to owners or higher management
- Host meetings to discuss new techniques and skills
And so much more…
As an Arborist, you are responsible for growing, removal and maintenance of trees. The work may include very large trees as well. Arborists must keep in mind that they don’t disturb the ecology and abiotic aspects of nature. In other words, they ensure that trees are healthy and suitable for the community and nearby homeowners.
The tasks of an Arborist include:
- Transplanting to a suitable spot
- Pruning extended or dangerous branches
- Diagnosis and analysis of trees
- Treatment of diseases
- Prevention from pests and insects
- Removal of unwanted growth around trees
In general, arborists need a bachelor’s degree in Horticulture to get started. However, fresh graduates are always under the guidance of expert arborists. And a few years of experience gets a arborist license. However, you will need additional certifications and licenses to use pesticides and other chemicals.
While most arborists need to work outdoors, some may also get an office job. This includes planning, consultancy, reporting and compliance to local regulations. On the other hand, arborists working with large trees use ropes, harnesses and cranes too. Sometimes, it may be a mix of both indoor and outdoor work.
Inspectors ensure that a high standard and quality of plants is maintained. This includes analysing food crops and ornamental plants. Various government regulatory agencies and private companies employ inspectors. Moreover, they recommend best practices, horticulture supplies and techniques to improve quality. That’s why inspectors are required to have a good knowledge and understanding of the industry.
Horticulturists in this career have a keen eye for produce quality. They may work for government or private agencies to ensure quality of crops. This helps to maintain a high-quality standard of fruits, vegetables and other plants in the industry.
The industry has roles for marketing of fresh or processed fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants and a lot more. It’s a great way to learn some sales skills. And, a good way to develop people skills too. Such roles may also involve buying from wholesalers and retailing. Most horticulturists deal with seeds, houseplants, floral arrangements, cut flowers and even equipment. Some go the extra mile by selling advanced solutions like hydroponics, breeding kits and indoor gardens.
You may also consider starting your own business in the green industry. Better yet, starting by experimenting in your backyard! Management skills are crucial for these businesses.
Here are some business examples for inspiration:
- Garden Center
- Consultancy services
- Landscaping services
- Education and Online Courses
Not all the careers involve physical hands-on work. And Education is one of them. This is probably the best way to inspire gardening lovers to take up horticulture as a career. Or perhaps, a hobby to dissolve life’s stresses. Most universities and high schools often have opportunities for horticulturists. Some even start their own training institutions and online courses.
Another popular career for horticulturists willing to take a step further. Over the years, Research has brought marvellous innovations and technologies to the industry. You could engage in research activities to make a huge contribution with innovative solutions.
Indeed, finding new ways to improve crop yields and quality is very rewarding. Moreover, enhancing postharvest conditions to preserve quality and improve marketing of crops. Notably, research can help you gain recognition in the industry.
Research areas include
Some horticulturists also take up consultation as a career. It may range from private consulting to public conferences with landscapers, farmers and customers. Ultimately, the goal is to help people in the industry by advising them on the best practices. These can help growers enhance crop yields with special techniques.
Consultants provide a wide range of services for various businesses. For instance, they help in selecting the right plants for a sustainable landscape. That being said, these landscapes require minimal maintenance. After all, the practical designs are most economical and will save money in the long run. This means bigger profits for horticulture businesses.
Moreover, they also advise on developing resistance of crops to diseases and pest. And selecting the right equipment and products. Undoubtedly, a horticulturist can be relied on for any kind of advice and tips. Essentially, you will need to have a balance of plant knowledge and their care needs.
One important aspect of this career is that you should be open to travel. Since clients may be in various cities. Besides Horticulture, presentation and people skills are very crucial in this career. And these skills are developed with experience.
Industry Experts and Writers
Experienced horticulturists may consider taking up this career. Opportunities may include working in senior managerial positions. Such as, Government or private regulatory agencies or Large-scale business managers.
Alternatively, they may write for gardening magazines, websites, tv shows and media. This may also include research and development of new products, techniques and technologies. Some may analyse data of suppliers, manufacturers and related companies to ensure best practices are followed. Such analysis can help develop better ways to increase profits.
If you have excellent writing skills and love Horticulture, then this role is for you. After all, it’s the best way to share your views with the world.
Is a Horticulture Degree necessary?
This question is frequently asked by Horticulture aspirants. The answer depends on the kind of job or business opportunities you’re interested in. Often, maintenance staff and similar roles don’t need a formal degree. But the pay is usually lower without a degree.
On the other hand, a degree in horticulture makes you eligible for a much wider range of jobs in the industry. A Master’s or Ph.D. qualifies you for scientific research.
Majors in horticulture include, but are not limited to:
- Applied Horticulture
- Landscaping & Groundskeeping
- Turf & Turfgrass Management
- Ornamental Horticulture
- Floriculture/Floristry Operations & Management
- Plant Nursery Operations & Management
- Greenhouse Operations & Management
- Horticultural Business Services
So, there’s a wide range of options for you to choose from.
Benefits of working in the Horticulture Industry
If you love being in the hands of nature, then horticulture is the right career. As we saw earlier, it involves all kinds of activities with plants. Whether its fruits, vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants. You will be rewarded by nature with a fulfilling career.
Besides, you will be putting smiles on people’s faces as you grow a green thumb. Essentially, showcasing your skills through gardens, parks or other green spaces.
Moreover, the green industry has amazing health benefits. After all, the planting, pulling and digging is a serious workout. Over the years, you can build up your muscles as you gain industry experience.
Since most of the work is outdoors, the job will appeal you if you’re alright with getting your hands dirty. Moreover, you need to be creative and well organized.
What’s more, fresh fruits, vegetables and other plants ensure you reap the rewards of your work. With a wide range of opportunities, the industry has something for everyone.
Once you get into Horticulture, be prepared for anything related to plants. You may expect anything from:
- Growing techniques
- Latest Technologies
- Soil science
- Greenhouse operations
- Plant physiology
- Pest management
And much more.
Naturally, anything related to plants is an opportunity for you. This could involve working in:
- Garden Centers
- Botanical Gardens
- Private Estates
- Public Green spaces
- Landscape Design
- Farms and Orchards
You may even find careers you didn’t even know existed! For instance, Horticultural therapists helping people dissolve their stresses by being surrounded by nature.
Horticulture can be a great career if you love being in the hands of nature. Indeed, it has some amazing health benefits along with a sense of purpose towards the environment. Besides, it can be a great escape from being stuck at a desk staring at the computer screen all day.
The wide range of opportunities will leave you spoilt for choice. As you go deeper into a specialization, so does your chances of getting a bigger paycheck. On the other hand, you could start your own business if you’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit. For instance, a greenhouse or a nursery. Moreover, you could contribute to the industry through research or education.
And if all this is not enough, then its health benefits will allure you. Gardening is good for your physical and mental well-being. Just being surrounded by plants, with the birds chirping and the sunlight is good therapy. A great way to reduce stress while growing stronger muscles. And, the rewarding fruits and vegetables fresh from the garden to your plate!
I hope you enjoyed this article and got some inspiration to become a Horticulturist. Which Horticulture Degree major are you thinking of? Let me know in the comments section below.
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