Growing a Career in Horticulture

Growing a Career in Horticulture
If you have a green thumb and are looking for a growing career, consider the training opportunities available at community colleges.
The field of horticulture opens up a wealth of career opportunities, ranging from education and public service to landscape design and nursery management. Many community colleges have tuned into the value of offering a comprehensive horticulture program to students, providing plenty of educational options.

Grow interested in just a few examples of the many horticulture programs available across the country, as well as the career opportunities you can explore with a two-year degree or certification in this field.
This video describes the Horticulture Technology program at Alamance Community College.
Careers in Horticulture
According to the website for the American Society for Horticulture Science, there are many possible career paths to pursue a degree or training in the field of horticulture. Some of the possibilities include:
  • Education – Teach at the community college or university level.
  • Research – Conduct research through universities or companies involved in horticulture.
  • Entrepreneur – Own your own nursery, landscape design company or winery.
  • Parks – Become a part of botanical gardens, learning gardens or public parks and museums.
  • Public Service – Work in non-profit organizations or extension offices.
  • Golf and Sports – Design or manage golf courses, athletic fields or country clubs.
  • Production – Create an inventory for nurseries or landscape companies.
  • Landscape Design – Create beautiful outdoor spaces for commercial and residential properties.
  • Communication – Educate others about horticulture through mass media like radio and print publications.
  • Marketing – Promote nurseries, landscape companies or non-profits involved with horticulture.
The above list is not exhaustive, but it does exemplify just how wide the field of horticulture can be. If working outdoors with plants and landscaping sounds like the perfect career choice for you, consider these horticulture programs available at community colleges across the country.
This Washington institution apparently knew exactly what it was doing when it brought botanist Walt Bubelis onboard more than 40 years ago. Under Bubelis' expert leadership, the horticulture department at Edmonds grew to be the largest horticulture-education program in the Northwest, according to an article in The Seattle Times. Edmonds Community College now enrolls 250 students each year, who are eager to learn about garden designs and plant identification. In fact, students learn the names and characteristics of as many as 900 plants in their very first year of study at Edmonds.
This video describes the horticulture program at Edmonds Community College.
Students who graduate from the horticulture program at Edmonds go on to a diverse range of careers, from managing nurseries to working in landscape firms. Students have fanned out across the region, enhancing the outdoor spaces throughout the Northwest with the knowledge they gained from the Edmonds program. Even though Bubelis is finally retiring from teaching after many years, the Edmonds program is still going quite strong with a full staff of faculty to carry on the programs.
This Oregon school also offers a comprehensive horticulture department, providing classes and training to students and members of the community alike. The program is accredited by the Professional Landcare Network, which is the only nationally recognized endorsement offered to colleges that include a horticulture curriculum, according to the Clackamas Community College website.
The programs at Clackamas include certification in horticulture, landscape practices, and irrigation, as well as associate degrees in Horticulture and Landscape.
Cabrillo College, located in California, boasts one of the largest salvia collections in the world and is currently in the process of expanding other horticulture offerings. This college offers a state-of-the-art nursery, lab classroom and community center with a small retail store. Course offerings include landscape construction and restoration, native plants and hydroponics. Horticulture degree programs are available through the college.
This video describes the horticulture program at Cabrillo College.
The Mesa Community College Horticulture Program offers a two-year associate's degree in either Agribusiness or Urban Horticulture. Certification programs are also available in Landscape Aid, Landscape Specialist and Pest Management Aid, according to the college website.
The Arizona school also offers programs in livestock management to complement horticulture courses.
Graduates of the Mesa programs can work in landscape design, nursery management or public space management. Many Mesa students also go onto own their own businesses in the horticulture industry.
Horticulture is an industry that is ever growing and evolving, providing stimulating career opportunities for those interested in the field. With a degree program in horticulture through one of these colleges, or another community college around the country, students are prepared to take on a diverse range of jobs in outdoor landscaping or plant management.
If you have a natural green thumb and love working in the great outdoors, consider the community colleges in your area to find a horticulture program that will get you started on a fun, fulfilling career filled with growth.
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