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Examples of Horticulturalist Careers

Horticulture is a broad-based trade, related to the science of growing plants commercially. Horticulturalists may be involved in a broad spectrum of different types of commercial agriculture, landscaping and organic farming.

Career path

Basic training in horticulture is a formal study. It involves theoretical and practical training, including basic botany, plant biology, agricultural chemistry, plant ecology, site planning and landscaping. In some countries a formal apprenticeship is available in which apprentices work on site and in the classroom.

Career progression

Because horticulture is such a broad field, it is not uncommon for the early career work to span a wide range of different jobs. Many horticulturalists become specialists in a particular field like landscaping, for example, which includes additional qualifications in landscape architecture. Others may specialize in commercial horticulture like farming.

Because career progression is directly related to areas of specialization, horticulturalists may gravitate to a particular area of interest quite early in their careers.

Typical forms of horticulturalist career progression include:

  • Agribusiness corporate careers in which career progression is hierarchical within an organization.
  • Commercial horticulture in small to medium-sized businesses where career progression is based on the nature of the jobs involved. 'Job mobility' is the key to career success in this field.
  • Landscaping and careers may include working for a variety of employers and in many cases horticulturalists progress to starting their own landscaping businesses.
  • Green careers, including ecological science like reforestation and growing plants to rehabilitate ecologically damaged areas which also defines the ecological aspects of horticulture as an earth science.

Horticulture is in fact big business around the world. Agriculture, commercial horticulture and landscaping are all global billion dollar industries. Career development in horticulture may include additional qualifications in relation to industrial career needs including business qualifications and in some cases scientific qualifications.

At its most advanced level, horticulture is in fact a science as well as a trade. In agribusiness, development of new types of crops and agricultural methodologies can be cutting-edge science, involving a lot of research and field trials.

If you're looking for a career which includes scope for both creativity and commercial success, horticulture definitely qualifies in both regards. Some people call horticulture 'gardening on a global scale', which is pretty accurate assessment of the many different roles of horticulturalist.