If you enjoy working outdoors and you have an aptitude for working with plants and trees, jobs in horticulture might be a good choice for you.
Botanists are biological scientists who study plants and the environments in which they live and grow. Most people who work in this profession spend the majority of their time conducting research, studying various aspects of plant life. Some botanists concentrate their studies on identifying and classifying plant life, while others focus their efforts on learning more about plant biochemistry and the structure and function of different parts of plants. Botanists also are involved in investigating the causes of plant diseases, as well as looking for cures.
To work as a research botanist, it's generally necessary to have a minimum of a Master's degree in Biology, and some positions require doctoral degrees. Many people who work in this field are employed by universities and divide their time between teaching and conducting research. Others work for private biotechnology companies.
Landscape architects are responsible for designing exterior spaces so they are both attractive and functional. They work closely with building architects, engineers, and surveyors, and their duties involve planning where to place buildings, walkways, and roads to maximize aesthetic appeal and minimize impact on the natural environment. Landscape architects are also responsible for deciding where flowers, trees, and shrubberies are placed in the spaces they are assigned to work with.
To work as a landscape architect, it's necessary to have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in landscape architecture, and most states require individuals who work in this profession to be licensed. Some individuals who work in this field are employed by landscape architecture firms, while others are often employed by municipalities, real estate development companies, or property management firms.
Many people who hold jobs in horticulture are employed as professional landscapers. Individuals who work as landscapers are involved in planning, planting, and maintaining lawns, gardens, and other landscaped areas. Duties may include mowing grass, trimming trees and hedges, and planting and mulching various types of plants. Landscaping professionals are also involved in selecting and installing sprinkler systems and outdoor lighting.
Many landscapers specialize in providing services to residential clients, while others focus on commercial landscaping. Commercial landscapers often concentrate on landscape planning and maintenance for shopping centers, lodging facilities, apartment complexes, tourist attractions, and other businesses that require attractive exterior appearances. Individuals who perform golf course and sports field landscaping duties often complete career training programs specific to their occupations, while most other landscapers learn their skills on the job.
Individuals who work as groundskeepers are responsible for maintaining various types of outdoor spaces, such as golf courses, public parks, sports fields, and other types of grounds. They are tasked with caring for the sod, plants, and trees on the grounds for which they are responsible, as well as for performing cleaning and maintenance duties such as raking and blowing leaves and keeping walkways free from snow. They are responsible for preventive maintenance and making repairs as needed. Most people who work as landscapers learn their skills on the job.
Retail Garden Center or Nursery Worker
Many of the jobs in horticulture are with retail garden centers and nurseries. Individuals who hold these types of jobs are responsible for caring for the plants available for sale, as well as helping customers select items that meet their needs. They are often involved in assisting customers select flowers, seeds, trees, and shrubberies. Additionally, nursery and garden center workers must be knowledgeable about soil and fertilizer, as they'll often be asked to help customers make soil, lawn, and plant care choices.
Choosing Jobs in Horticulture
You are the only person who can decide if a career in horticulture is right for you. If you think you'd like to pursue a career in this field, you may want to seek a summer or entry level job that doesn't require formal training in the field. Assuming that you find the work to be enjoyable and you have an aptitude for it, you can enroll in a formal program of study that will prepare you to pursue a long term career in this field.