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Horticulture Degree Courses and Schools

Students interested in working in the vegetable, plant, fruit, nursery, greenhouse and landscaping industries can take specialized horticulture courses at a university or school. Horticulture universities typically offer several types of degree programs and certificates for students who want to work in the field of plant production, education, research or become a landscape designer or advisor. Attending a horticulture university means graduates can get the hands-on training they need to be successful in their careers.

Attending a Horticulture University

Students interested in taking courses towards a horticulture degree program or certificate can attend a university that offers very specialized courses and training. Horticulture universities typically require students to complete a combination of classroom and hands-on training, attend workshops and seminars, and participate in working projects throughout their educational career. Many public colleges and universities have a dedicated Department of Horticulture that includes research facilities, greenhouses and field work projects.

Programs typically focus on gardening, sustainable planting practices, and training in practices that improve the quality of life for individuals and communities. Some colleges offer courses and programs that specialize in the following core areas of study:

  • Crop Science

  • Plant Biology

  • Plant Pathology

  • Plant Genetics and Breeding

  • General Horticulture

  • Plant Protection

Types of Horticulture Courses

Courses in horticulture cover a wide range of topics, and may include writing, history and even some business courses. Some of the most common types of courses available include:

  • Nature of Plants

  • Sustainable Land Care

  • Horticultural Science and Systems

  • Hands-On Horticulture

  • Nature Writing

  • Introduction to Agricultural Machinery

  • Sustainability and Organic Plant Production

  • Taxonomy of Cultivated Plants

  • Principles of Plant Propagation

  • Principles of Vegetable Production

  • Quality Improvement of Food Crops

  • Environmental Landscape Management

  • Restoration Ecology

  • Landscape Plant Nutrition

  • Fruit Crop Nutrition

  • Ecological Orchard Management

Some horticulture universities and colleges offer internships, individual study programs, undergraduate research projects, and seminars in horticulture and related subjects. Students may also have the option to participate in an extension volunteer department program where they work in the field with professional horticulturalists, plant scientists and other students in the field.

Students who complete courses at the graduate level or higher typically focus on research methods, analysis, advanced analytical methods of plant systems, and may be required to complete at thesis, scholarly paper or a supervised research project.

Types of Horticulture Degree Programs

Many schools that offer professional training in the field offer the following types of programs:

  • Associates Degree in Horticulture (Associate of Applied Science)

  • Associates Degree in Ornamental Horticulture

  • Bachelor of Science in Horticulture

  • Masters in Horticultural Science

  • Masters in Ornamental Horticulture

Some colleges also host a number of workshops, educational seminars that complement some of the degree and training programs.

Getting a Horticulture Certificate

In addition to professional horticulture degrees, a student may choose to complete a certificate program to complement their degree or to learn new skills in the field. Certificate programs may specialize in areas such as:

  • Landscape Design and Installation

  • Nursery and Greenhouse Production

  • Turf and Landscape Maintenance

  • Horticulture Plant Identification and Installation

Horticulture certification may be required for certain types of positions and can be beneficial for anyone who wants to specialize in their field and pursue advanced training in a particular area.

Career Options after Horticulture School

Students who successfully complete a horticulture degree program or certification program can explore a number of rewarding career paths, including:

  • Independent Grower or Manager of a Greenhouse

  • Vegetable Farm Grower

  • Tissue Culture and Propagation Specialist

  • Seed Producer

  • Crop Specialist

  • Marketing Specialist in the Plant Industry

  • Residential, Private or Public Sector Land Designer

  • Lawn or Recreational Turf Manager

  • Arboriculturist

  • Horticultural Therapist

  • Public or Corporate Technician or Scientist of Plant Culture

  • Plant Genetic Improvement Specialist

  • Pest Management Researcher

  • Environmental Protection Researcher or Agent

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for agricultural and food scientists is expected to increase faster than the average. Those who specialize in horticulture science, genetic crop breeding and other scientific fields may find more opportunities than other areas of specialization.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers reports that the beginning salary offered to graduates with a plant sciences degree was $33,456 in July 2009. Beginning salaries for those with a degree in agricultural sciences were $34,699 in July 2009.

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Horticulture Degree Courses and Schools



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