If you find yourself contemplating becoming a horticulturist, you undoubtedly have certain questions about what it takes to pursue this profession. On your list of understandably inquires likely is do you need a degree to be a horticulturist?
What is a Horticulturist?
In basic terms, a horticulturist is described as an expert in the cultivation and management of a garden. In this day and age, some contend that it is a bit too narrow of a definition for a horticulturist. A horticulturist is involved in applying scientific knowledge to cultivate, maintain, and propagate plants. While a horticulturist may work in settings involving gardens, this type of professional works in larger settings as well. For example, a horticulturist may be involved in the commercial cultivation of plants as well as research.
A Look at the Degree to be a Horticulturist
Undoubtedly, there are people with tremendous experience in the cultivation and management of plants that do so without the benefit of formal education. Recognizing this fact, to be a true horticulturist, there are some basic academic requirements.
When it comes to a degree to be a horticulturist, in most cases some type of appropriate bachelor’s degree is required, according to Environmental Science. The one exception is if a horticulturist is to be engaged in landscaping work. In such situations, some professionals obtain an associate’s degree in a horticulture-related field, like botany.
Several different bachelor degree programs are suitable precursors to a career as a horticulturist. These include botany or plant science. A course of study in preparation to become a horticulturist includes courses in introductory horticulture, soil science, and chemistry. Moreover, a student will take upper-division courses that focus on a specific area of specialization of interest to be a person intent on becoming a horticulturist. Some horticulturists are in academic or research positions. Individuals interested in careers in academics or research need to obtain an advanced degree, either a master’s or doctorate, according to Chron or the Houston Chronicle.
In addition to earning a suitable degree to be a horticulturist, many people also embark on an internship. At this juncture in time, there is a relatively broad spectrum of opportunities when it comes to internships for people interested in a career in horticulture. These include internships in the private sector, with governmental agencies, in academia, and with nonprofit organizations.
A hands-on experience obtained through an internship tends to give a person a proverbial “leg-up” when seeking employment as a horticulturist. Indeed, more than a few prospective employers give considerable weight to this type of practical experience.
Related Resource: 25 Best Affordable Applied Horticulture Degree Programs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide specific data for horticulturists. Rather, it provides information on an array of professions that tend to be occupied by horticulturists. These include agricultural and food scientists, soil scientists, and agricultural managers. Agricultural and food scientists, as well as soil scientists, are expected to enjoy a 7 percent increase in available positions that are suitable to a horticulturist during the coming decade. On the other hand, agricultural management will contract slightly during that same time.