Horticulture is one of the more specialized studies within the field of agriculture. It is essentially the study of plant cultivation. So if you plan on having a career that involves working with plants, then this is the field of study you may want to consider. Many of the students who study Horticulture grew up with gardening as a pleasurable hobby.
What is a Horticulture Degree?
If simple gardening is no longer enough to satisfy your thirst for knowledge in plant cultivation, then getting a degree in Horticulture will provide you with a solid foundation of the subject. Horticulture is the scientific study of plant cultivation for human use, whether it is about growing fruits and vegetables for food production, growing beautiful flowers and designing landscapes for beauty, or even for conservation.
Horticulture covers the study of plant types, plant production, plant management, and plant sustainability. Plant science is a major concern, and it covers plant physiology, identification, and nutrition. Soils are studied too, as well as pest control.
Other subjects cover the art of floral arrangements and garden design. Students analyze a location, and design a landscape, and then prepare the soil and install the landscape according to environmental guidelines.
However, different crops and plants may be emphasized in the Horticulture program according to the school’s location and climate.
With their knowledge of plant science and landscaping, Horticulture graduates can apply for positions in industries such as gardening, crop management, equipment production, marketing and research, and landscape design.
They can care for plants or manage garden centers, orchards, and plant nurseries. They can become landscape contractors, designers, or even landscape business owners. Others become florists and horticulture consultants.
Some go on to become golf course managers, vegetable growers, or inspectors of plants and produce. Others build careers in sales and earn commissions through sales of plants, seeds, gardening and farm chemicals, and farming equipment.
For professional grounds managers, the average salary in the United States is about $60,000 according to the Professional Grounds Management Society. Soil and plant scientists earn a mean annual wage of $62,830 as of 2013 according to the BLS.
Others may also increase their employability by earning certification in a horticulture specialty. Certifications are available for floral design, tree trimming, landscape technician, and landscape design.
Top Universities for Horticulture
You’ll have a much better chance of getting a job in the company you want when you get your Horticulture degree from one of the best schools in the US. These schools include Cornell University, which is the only Ivy League school that offers a Horticulture program. Another good school is the University of Georgia, which offers three specializations (General Horticulture, Landscape Contracting, and Horticultural Science) for Horticulture majors.
You may also want to consider Mississippi State University, University of Delaware, Oregon State University, University of Rhode Island, and Texas Tech University. Other good schools offering Horticulture undergraduate programs are South Dakota University, Eastern Kentucky University, and California State Polytechnic University.