Gardener: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue that are related to gardening. Read on to learn more about career options along with education and certification information. Schools offering Landscape Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Gardener?

Gardeners are responsible for fertilizing and grooming plants and shrubs. They may remove dead or harmful elements, such as dead flowers. They'll monitor plant health and do any watering, trimming, or mulching necessary. They may work for private or public entities, such as botanical properties or malls. Find out what on-the-job and college-based training programs can help you become a gardener. The following chart provides an overview of what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Required No formal education required for some jobs; certificate or associate's degree needed for garden design jobs
Key Responsibilities Groundskeeping, garden design, landscape maintenance, landscape management
Licensure and Certification Voluntary Master Gardener certification available
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%* (for landscaping and groundskeeping workers)
Median Salary (2015) $25,030* (for landscaping and groundskeeping workers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Type of Training Do I Need to Become a Gardener?

The type of education you need to become a gardener depends on your professional goals. A wide range of career options exist that allows you to use your gardening skills. Possible jobs include landscaping maintenance, groundskeeping, garden design services, arboriculture, landscape management or landscape architecture.

Several jobs, such as groundskeeping and landscaping maintenance, require no formal education. You'll usually receive training through your employer or your own research and efforts. To become employed as a garden designer, you could earn a certificate or associate degree in horticulture or a bachelor's degree in landscape design to learn the fundamentals of garden aesthetics and plant care. If you'd like to incorporate structural elements into your planning, employ conservation practices and take a scientific approach to gardening, a job as a landscape architect requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in the field, and most states require licensure.

What Types of Informal Classes Are Available?

Many local universities and community colleges offer stand-alone classes in gardening that cover how to plan, grow and care for vegetable, organic or floral gardens. Several county extension offices also provide Master Gardener training programs through local outreach training centers and universities. As a Master Gardener, you'll usually work as a volunteer to assist commercial or residential gardeners and teach gardening courses to the general public. You can find some schools that offer online instruction.

What Are My Job Prospects?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that landscaping and groundskeeping workers will see a 6% increase in jobs during the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). You can work in landscape maintenance and gardening at corporate buildings and universities, as well as in private homes. You could also start your own business. The BLS stated that as the population ages and homeowners lack the time necessary to maintain their yards, they often hire gardening and lawn care assistance.

What Could I Earn?

Depending on your qualifications, industry and career goals, your salary could fluctuate. According to BLS statistics, the median annual salary for landscaping and groundskeeping workers was $25,030 as of May 2015. However, those who worked in federal and state agencies, and electric power distribution earned $47,620 and $40,880, respectively.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers included farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers, forest and conservation workers, and logging workers. Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers supervise the operations of plots that handle food cultivation and livestock. Forest and conservation workers serve to maintain the health of forests. Logging workers help produce timber by growing forest land. All of these fields require a high school diploma for entry.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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