Horticulture Careers: Popular Job Opportunities

Information Last Verified: August 24, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

If you love working in the garden, a horticulture career could be the right option for you. While it might only seem like a hobby, those that love to work with plants can do it for a living.

There are several great career paths to enjoy in the field of horticulture. Whether you want to work directly with plants or you prefer to test soil, there are plenty of choices for your new job. Here are some of the top horticulture careers to consider.

Careers in Horticulture

Best Horticulture Careers to Look into

Plant Pathologist

As a plant pathologist, you will be tasked with studying plants and handling experiments. You’ll look at plant diseases and how they impact the plants. This position will likely require some travel.`

Plant pathologists often collect samples, soil and work with a team. They may need to develop new types of plants more resistant to diseases. This is a great career choice for those with a scientific background.

If you become a plant pathologist, you will enter into one of the highest-paying horticulture careers. This job comes with an annual salary of about $82K. You will likely need a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree can be even more helpful.

Ornamental Horticulturist

You need to be creative for this horticulture career. As an ornamental horticulturist, you will work to create amazing floral displays. This job is commonly found at a plant nursery, landscaping company, or in a florist shop.

You will work with decorative plants and flowers. It could involve creating low-maintenance flower beds for private homes and businesses. If you work for a florist, you will likely design wreaths, corsages, and bouquets.

Working as an ornamental horticulturist will put you in a growing field with over a half-million workers across the USA right now. The average annual salary is around $45K per year.

Horticultural Inspector

If you’re interested in helping to maximize crop yields, becoming a horticultural inspector is the right career for you. This type of job is found within the food industry. You will help to keep the quality of fruit and vegetable crops at a high level.

Private companies and governments need the help of horticultural inspectors to meet the needs of their communities. You will need to understand the food industry and horticulture to work within this field.

As a horticultural inspector, you can earn an average salary of around $48K per year. While there is no specific degree requirement, a bachelor’s degree is very helpful for landing this type of job.

Plant Care Worker

A good entry-level position for those trying to enter into a horticulture career, plant care workers are very important. You will likely care for ornamental plants. Therefore, it’s important to have skills in horticulture and knowledge of the plants you’re working with.

Plant care workers often apply fertilizers and insecticides. You will need to use specific gardening tools to help ensure plants stay healthy.

Some flora may need to be transplanted. You will also need to examine the plant health and soil.

As a plant care worker, you can earn an average salary of about $41K per year.

Horticulture Consultant

As a consultant in the horticulture industry, you can provide many useful services for organizations. You will be able to help farmers, golf courses, and other organizations looking for a consultant. Most horticulture consultants specialize in a specific area.

You will need to gain the right training to provide excellent business advice. Be prepared to travel for this type of position. Most horticulture consultants will work with plants and soil regularly. They will advise organizations on the proper care and maintenance of their plants.

As a horticulture consultant, you can earn an average annual salary of about $58K per year. It’s likely going to require a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Consultants also gain the ability to work freelance or for themselves.

Grafter

A rather unique horticulture career, a grafter works to develop new varieties of plants, typically fruits. A grafter will work with different plants to create new varieties, such as different types of apples or citrus. It’s even possible for a grafter to create a fruit tree that grows more than one type of fruit.

You will need incredible knowledge of propagation. It’s necessary to increase the variety of plants, and you will also need to understand budding techniques.

The average salary for a grafter is about $41K per year. You may need a degree or at least some specialized training to become a grafter.

Landscape Designer

Working with plants and landscapes to create outdoor areas for homeowners and businesses is the job of a landscape designer. This is a great horticulture career and a popular one. But, first, you will work directly with plants and soil.

Most landscape designers will take on business clients, homeowners, and government agencies. You will often work for yourself, but you can also work for a large organization.

A landscape designer earns an average annual salary of about $50K. So you don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree to enter this horticulture career. However, it can be very helpful.

Turf Contractor

As a turf contractor, you will work with parks, homes, and businesses. This horticulture career provides lawn maintenance in many different ways. From keeping the lawn cut to keeping it free from pests, you will handle many different tasks.

Turf contractors handle watering, weeding, mowing, feeding, repairing, weed killing, and leveling the lawns of businesses and homeowners. You may work on commercial properties, in public spaces, or even in private gardens.

Training and knowledge of soil types, mowing techniques, weed removal, thatch removal, and different pests and disease will be necessary. In addition, you will get to work outside with this horticulture career.

As a turf contractor, you can earn an average annual salary of about $36K per year. This career doesn’t require a degree and offers plenty of opportunities.

Greenkeeper

Working as a greenkeeper will put you in charge of one of many recreational areas. For example, you might work to maintain a golf course, racing track, tennis court, or soccer field. This type of job requires knowledge of landscaping, mowing, turf repair, seeding, weeding, and more.

You will need to become familiar with specific tools. You will also need to gain the right formal training. For example, a greenkeeper needs to have great communication skills. It’s a high-demand career and can be rather lucrative.

The average salary of a greenkeeper is about $34K per year. However, you can advance and work for larger facilities for a much higher salary.

Frequently Asked Questions About Horticulture Careers

What type of work environment is most likely for those working in horticulture?

If you decide to pursue a horticulture career, you may work in many different environments. You will likely spend at least some of your time working outdoors. However, you will likely work in an office setting, too. Some horticulture careers will put you in a retail environment, or you could be in a nursery.

What type of work experience is necessary for a horticulture career?

You don’t necessarily need a degree to enter into these careers. However, the right work experience can help. Working for a florist, nursery, school, or local park can help ensure you gain the experience you need.

You may need to start as a volunteer or with a lower-paying job. Then, with more experience, you can grow your low-paying job into a horticulture career with a nice salary.

Is a career in horticulture a good option?

If you want to work outside with plants, yes, this is a great career option. With some horticulture careers, you can earn a nice salary and enjoy working outside. This type of career isn’t necessarily a fast-growing career option, but it does offer a great career for the right person.

Do I need a degree to work in horticulture?

No, but without a bachelor’s degree, you might find it difficult to enter into the career you prefer. However, a bachelor’s degree in horticulture or botany can help you advance your career faster. With the right degree and an internship program, you can become far more qualified for the right career.

The right degree program will teach you about irrigation, gardening, pest control, and plant care. After gaining the right education, you might also need credentials from the Soil Science Society of America or the Certified Crop Advisors. It will depend on the type of horticulture career you plan to enter into.

How much can I earn with a horticulture career?

The salary you earn will depend on the position you take within the horticulture industry. Salaries for entry-level positions will be lower than for those moving up the ladder.

Horticulture careers pay an annual salary ranging from $32,300 to $81,700. The experience you have, your location, and the career you choose will determine the actual salary you will earn.

Jordan Fabel

Jordan Fabel

Covering different 'paths' that people's lives can take. Creative, foster parent, ticket dismissal, you get the idea. Exploring the requirements, certifications, exams, and obviously, approved courses along each path. I, personally, am the high school dropout son of two teacher parents. So how did I get here? That story takes more time. Coming soon!