Read about careers in floriculture operations and management, a branch of horticulture devoted to flower care and farming. Find information about employment options and salary potential here, as well as what types of degree programs can help you prepare for a career.
Floriculture is the study of the care and cultivation of flowering plants. Many colleges offer associate degree programs in floriculture, floristry or floral design. Specializations in floriculture or floristry may also be found through bachelor's or master's degree programs in horticulture or other plant sciences, including those available online. While full-time work in floriculture is possible, you should be aware in advance that some opportunities may only be available on a seasonal or part-time basis.
A degree in floriculture may prepare you for a job in a plant nursery, or as a commercial grower or floral wholesaler. You may also pursue a career as a floral designer and create arrangements for weddings or other special events. As a qualified graduate, you might obtain a position as a greenhouse manager or professional gardener. A high school diploma may enable you to find work as a laborer for a greenhouse operation while you decide if you want to pursue postsecondary education.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected an 8% decrease in jobs nationwide for floral designers between 2012 and 2022. In May 2013, the median annual salary for floral designers was $24,220. By comparison, employment of plant and soil scientists was expected to increase by 8% during the same 10-year period. As of May 2013, plant and soil scientists earned a median salary of $58,990 a year.
In the same month, the median annual salary for landscaping and groundskeeping workers was $23,940. As reported by the BLS, grounds maintenance, groundskeeping and landscaping workers will see an average growth in employment from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov).
Depending on the field of study, an associate degree program may include topics in floral design, greenhouse management and plant care. You may also learn how to identify the different types of floral species. In addition to the aforementioned career options, completion of an associate degree program might help you acquire the skills you need to work in, or manage, a botanical or community garden.
A bachelor's degree program in floriculture or horticulture that includes a specialization in floriculture or floristry may cover topics in botany basics and pest control. Horticulture classes in particular can provide you with additional information about indoor gardening strategies, ornamental plants, trees and shrubs. You may also have the chance to participate in a greenhouse management practicum or complete an internship. Along with the previously mentioned employment options, a 4-year-degree in floriculture or horticulture can provide you with the background you need to open and market your own floral shop
Some master's and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree programs in crop science or horticulture allow for a concentration and thesis-based research in floriculture. Successful completion of a graduate program may qualify you for a teaching position at a college or a university.