Horticultural services is a broad career field that focuses on caring for and maintaining plant life. Keep reading to learn more about job options, the occupational outlook, and academic programs that can prepare you for employment.
Horticulture is the science of breeding, nurturing and cultivating plants. Service workers in this field are trained and educated in the methods and techniques used to prepare soil in a way that ensures an excellent crop yield of vegetables, fruits, flowers, grass and other types of plant life. As a horticultural services professional, you may find work in organic farming, plant breeding or groundskeeping at a zoo, golf course or similar setting.
If you're interested in working in horticultural services, you should expect keen competition over the next several years. According to O*NET OnLine, employment of horticulturists - including job titles like nursery or greenhouse manager and grower - is expected to decline by roughly 3% or more over the 2012-2022 decade (www.onetonline.org). The agency also reported that the median annual salary for horticulturists was $69,300 in May 2012.
Certain schools offer undergraduate degree programs in horticulture, which may include courses such as plant management, plant nutrition, plant pathology, soils, pest management, landscape management and ecology. Other popular undergraduate degree programs related to horticultural services include a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science and a Bachelor of Science in Botany. Students in these programs are typically given classroom instruction in ecology, sustainability and plant breeding. Other coursework might include hands-on training in a greenhouse or similar laboratory environment.
If you're interested in a career in research or academia, you may benefit from a master's degree in agriculture or botany. Programs at this level may include instruction on plant genomics, weed ecology, wetland soils, greenhouse management and public health.