How to Become a Horticulturalist

Horticulturalists specialize in planting and growing a variety of plants on a grand scale.

They go above and beyond your backyard personal gardening and use their skills and green thumb to grow large amounts of plants for general use.

People who already know that they want to become a Horticulturalist have a knack for working with gardening, nature and agriculture.

Horticulturists can work in a variety of positions that include office work, education and hands on plant growing.

The types of vegetation Horticulturalists plant, grow and educate on can include:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Ornamental plants
  • Flowers

Horticulturalists can work with a wide range of plants from the exotic and rare to the common and well known flowers and plants.

They have an understanding of the climates and environments that produce strong and healthy and flourishing vegetation.

Search for Horticulturalist Programs Now!
Choose a Program

sponsored schools

For more information regarding the industry and ways to get involved, visit the American Society for Horticultural Science at ASHS.

This website provides a wide range of information regarding jobs, careers, membership, publications, and conferences for professionals and students.

Education Requirements to Become a Horticulturalist

In order to become a Horticulturalist, candidates must have thorough knowledge regarding plant life, growth and maintenance.

Most Horticulturalist jobs entail having continued education either by completing an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Doctoral degree.

Candidates who want to perform research in this field must complete a doctoral program.

In addition, the ASHS foundation offers certification that can help strengthen a candidate’s background.

The majority of positions that promote product development require candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree.

In order to become a Horticulturalist, candidates should major in Agricultural Science or Horticulture, if available, as an undergrad in college.

Those who want to pursue a doctoral degree can specialize in an Agricultural science such as Horticulture.

Other advanced degrees available include Genetics, Crop Science or Animal Breeding.

Horticulturalist Job Description

A Horticulturalist is an experienced professional who prepares soil for plant cultivation, plants seeds for new plants and maintains and observes a plant’s growth.

A Horticulturalist can cultivate a variety of plants for a variety of purposes.

They can grow flowers, vegetables or fruits for consumption as well as for decoration purposes.

Horticulturalists are also responsible for determining new ways to increase the production of crops.

This may come from the extensive demand due to population growth.

In addition, Horticulturalists are expected to cultivate plants and vegetation that is high in quality, provides better nutrition and resistant to harmful surroundings such as insects or disease.

Horticulturalists are also expected to fulfill their responsibilities in a cost effective way and in a manner that is efficient yet doesn’t harm the environment.

These professionals find ways to cultivate the highest quality vegetation under limiting circumstances such as environmental and cost effective requirements.

In addition to finding more efficient ways to cultivate vegetation, some other aspects of this career include finding competent and effective ways to harvest, process, package and deliver products (plants) that can withstand a lot of movement in shipment loads.

Horticulturalists work for a wide range of employers including the government, private nurseries, greenhouses or private industries.

Their specific job duties also depends the type of position candidates seek.

Horticulturalists may also work in an office setting, laboratories, greenhouses or providing hands on work out in the field.

Some candidates may also find positions in Landscaping, Engineering for crop systems, researching or as crop inspectors.

Horticulturalist Salary and Career Path

The job outlook for the agricultural and food science industry looks strong due to a focus on using new technology and biotechnology to grow and develop new food products.

Also helping this growth is the shift in perspective regarding agriculture’s negative effect on the environment.

Consumers are more willing to buy products whose growth isn’t detrimental to the environment.

This shift in perspective has put pressure on the agricultural industry to come up with new ways to grow and develop food processes.

The national median wage for all food scientists and technologists, which include Horticulturalists, was approximately $59,500 per year.

The salary range for all related careers in this field was $34,000 to $105,000 in 2008.

Top Programs

Find a Program