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Careers In Gardening And Horticulture

Are you a gardening enthusiast? Is it more than just a seasonal hobby? For those who love the land and relish time spent outdoors amidst nature, cultivating and caring for plants and trees, the growing, flexible field of horticulture abounds with ample opportunities.

The broad, multidisciplinary study of horticulture can prepare individuals to work in a wide range of careers in agribusiness, arboriculture, botanical gardens, conservation, crop management, education, floral design, food chemistry, fruit and vegetable production, garden centers, gourmet gardening, greenhouses, grounds management, human nutrition, quality control, landscape construction and management, nurseries, management and sales, marketing/public relations, organic gardening, research and development, teaching/instruction, technical writing and publishing.

Horticultural therapy is an exciting and challenging field. Professionally trained horticultural therapists play a vital role in promoting well-being and helping to enhance the quality of life of others through gardening activities. Horticultural therapists work in various clinical environments (e.g., assisted living, health and wellness treatment programs designed for specific populations such as children or the elderly, hospitals, mental health centers, nursing homes and physical rehabilitation facilities) within collaborative teams of healthcare professionals such as physicians and occupational therapists.

Education And Training

The level of education one needs to acquire in the field of horticulture will largely depend on one’s interests, career objectives, time horizon and budget. Horticulture certificate programs are a feasible option for individuals with a more short-term focus. There are also specialized certificate programs in garden design, native plant design and organic gardening. Many community colleges offer certificate programs as well as associate degree programs. Horticultural programs are geared towards providing “practical” field training. Individuals who prefer to undertake a more intensive and specialized study may wish to consider undergraduate and graduate programs which require rigorous coursework in core areas such as agricultural and food chemistry, biology, crop production and management, floriculture, horticulture, mathematics and plant sciences. Online programs are also available from accredited institutions. Botanical gardens may offer workshops and certificate training.

Opportunity for Entrepreneurship

For individuals who wish to pursue a more entrepreneurial path, training and education in horticulture offers tremendous scope for building an independent business enterprise, e.g., academic consultant, communications/marketing, floriculture, freelance writing or proofreading, environmental specialist, herb specialist, home garden design, horticultural photography, landscape construction, design and management, ownership of a nursery or garden center, research, technical consulting to specialized industries and associations, public speaking and teaching.

For informational purposes and not intended as advice/recommendation.

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