Environmental horticulture majors may study many aspects of plant ecosystems. From learning better ways to handle pests to dealing with landscape designs, these individuals have unique skills that they can use to obtain a job. Students often study fields like nursery management, ornamental horticulture, plant biodiversity, landscape horticulture and urban forestry during their degree. Once the student graduates, they can go on to get a job as a nursery manager, pest control adviser, arborist, plant breeder or landscape contractor.
1. Nursery Manager
A nursery manager is responsible for running the operations at a plant nursery. They may hire new employees, grow plants or research new options. At large-scale operations, the manager may be responsible for narrower duties like financial operations or human resources. Nursery managers at smaller nurseries will often be required to handle all aspects of nursery management. While a degree is not strictly required for this position, it helps students to find a job in the field.
2. Landscape Contractor
Landscape contractors are responsible for all aspects of designing, implementing and maintaining a landscape. Individuals in this field may develop landscapes for residential properties or large corporations. Depending on the student’s experience, they may be hired as a landscape architect or site manager. While landscape architect’s often need an additional degree, there are many areas and properties where students can immediately work in this field. If the student is hired as a landscape architect, they can expect a median wage of $63,810 per year.
Arborists are responsible for growing, removing and taking care of trees. Normally, individuals must have at least a bachelor’s degree in fields like environmental horticulture or arboriculture to get started in this field. If the arborist plans on using pesticides, they must receive additional certifications and licenses. In many states, an arborist is expected to apprentice under an experienced arborist before they receive their license. From 2012 to 2022, this field is expected to grow at a rate of 18 percent.
4. Plant Breeder
Plant breeders work to develop new traits in current crops. They try to change the genetics of the plant to create traits like drought tolerance, prettier flowers or disease resistance. Depending on the employer, a plant breeder may work in a commercial or academic setting. They are expected to research techniques for improving plant breeding and identify plants that have more desirable traits. Likewise, a plant breeder may be expected to run scientific trials and analyze data to achieve the best results.
5. Pest Control Adviser
In this field, students work to remove harmful pests through strong pest management techniques. While the adviser may need to use pesticides to carry out their work, environmental horticulture majors will often look for ways to remove pests safely and naturally. In this position, individuals work to recommend pest management options, sell agricultural products and spray plants for pests. While requirements vary in each state, pest control advisers will often need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in the field to receive their certification.
Depending on the student’s personal interests, there are many job options available in environmental horticulture. From restoring disturbed landscapes to controlling erosion, environmental horticulture majors are responsible for taking care of the environment. Once the student knows what career they want to pursue, they can modify their electives to match their ultimate career goals.
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