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Horticultural Technician Job Description, Career as a Horticultural Technician, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training High school diploma

Average Salary $37,000 per year

Job Outlook Good

Basic Job Description

A horticultural technician grows plants and herbs for medicinal, educational, research or aesthetic purposes. A technician will grow plants in a nursery, an outdoor garden, or on a landscape plot and maintain the plants through planting, trimming and fertilizing them for proper maintenance. Technicians also work for golf courses or other outdoor establishments to develop a landscaping plan and determine which types of flowers and plants would be best for the look they want to achieve. Aside from plants, some horticulturalists will also develop designs that incorporate walkways or architecture. They will also install irrigation systems that will properly nurture and water the plants without getting in the way of people or ruin the aesthetic appeal. Horticultural technicians are responsible for almost all aspects of designing and maintaining the use of plants in design and landscaping, as well as caring for plants that are being grown and used for food, medicinal or research purposes.

Education and Training Requirements

Horticultural technicians do not have a specific degree required in order to do the job. Most companies prefer someone with a high school degree or equivalent in order to train with them and work for their company. Most companies will require employees to train as an apprentice for a specific number of hours to learn all aspects of caring for and maintaining plants, as well as their standard business practices.

Training for most positions as a horticultural therapist includes maintaining and preparing soil, planting seeds into the soil, identifying specific plants and understanding their life cycle, understanding different types of fertilizers, developing a cycle to keep track of what needs to be done for each type of plant, inspecting damaged plants, identifying types of pests that may cause infestation, and knowing how to operate equipment and machinery.

Getting the Job

In order to get a job as a horticultural technician, the ideal applicant will show that they have excellent knowledge of plant growth and maintenance. If the applicant is no well educated on the information, they will at least show the interest to learn and become educated on the topic.

Most technicians rely on the business of others to keep their job and company running. In order to keep clients and gain referrals, technicians need to have a customer friendly attitude and be willing to perform specific procedures or plant specific types of plants according to clients needs. Some clients may have a technician draw up an entire landscape plan, only to decide they no longer like it and ask for a new one. Horticultural technicians will be able to work with their clients and do whatever they need to create the results they want.

A horticultural technician should enjoy working outside, have a nurturing attitude when working and caring for delicate plants and flowers, have an eye for detail and what plants look good with others, and enjoy challenging themselves with their work. Horticultural technicians also need to understand any dangers that come with working with specific plants, such as thorns or potentially poisonous chemicals.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Most horticultural technicians start off working for a landscaping company and helping to care for and maintain plants at various establishments or even residences. After awhile, a technician may gain experience in the design aspect and develop ideas on how to landscape a property.

Many horticultural technicians wind up opening their own landscaping company after working in the industry for awhile. Some open businesses that cater to caring for existing plants and shrubbery, while others may cater to the design aspect, where they will look at a property and determine what type of landscape designs would look best.

A horticultural technician can continue their education to pursue a career in growing plants and herbs in a greenhouse for research, health or medicinal purposes. These types of technicians will have to care for the plants in the same manner, as well as distribute them to laboratories or research facilities that will turn them into a food, drug or research component. This requires more knowledge in the scientific aspect of plants, so taking classes in chemistry or microbiology are ideal for someone who plans to run a greenhouse for scientific purposes.

Working Conditions and Environment

Horticultural technicians usually work outdoors or in a greenhouse. Technicians and landscaping companies will get the most business during warmer months, so someone who wants to work year round may want to relocate to a warmer climate if they’re living somewhere that gets cold, snowy winters.

Horticultural technicians need to be in good physical shape, as some landscapes may require walking through several acres of land in order to maintain every type of plant. Horticultural technicians that work in a greenhouse will have to comfortably work in the warm and damp atmosphere for several hours at a time in order to keep each plant maintained.

Salary and Benefits

The average starting salary of a horticultural technician is about $37,000 per year. Most landscaping companies provide health insurance and vacation packages to employees, but that differs from place to place since many landscaping companies are privately owned. Many technicians start working for a landscape company as a maintenance provider, but those who advance to supervisor positions or even to open their own company have the potential to make significantly more money, especially if they maintain a good number of clients.

The potential to growing a horticultural business is huge considering the number of businesses that rely on an outside source to maintain their facility. A successful technician will provide excellent landscaping that also works as advertising for their company in hopes of keeping loyal customers and gaining new customers who see their work. Due to the fact that the majority of a horticultural technicians work is done outdoors, it gives them a chance to have their artwork viewed by many people.

Where to Go for More Information

American Horticultural Society
7931 East Boulevard Drive
Alexandria, VA 22308
(703) 768-5700

Royal Horticultural Society
80 Vincent Square
(0845) 260-5000

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAgribusiness, Environment, and Natural Resources