Horticultural Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School 

Many entry-level jobs, especially in landscaping and turf grass management, are available to high school and college students. For these positions, the majority of training takes place on the job. To prepare yourself in high school, take any agricultural classes available, particularly those that include units in botany. Science courses, such as biology, chemistry, and earth science, will also teach you about plant life, development, and the effects of various nutrients. Math, business, and accounting classes will be valuable if you're considering working in retail sales, or running your own business. Also, take English and composition courses to improve your communication skills for preparing reports and assisting in research.

Postsecondary Training

For management and more technical positions, most employers prefer applicants who have an associate's degree in applied science. Many horticulture training programs are available across the country. Programs include horticulture courses in landscape plants, pest management, nursery management, and plant propagation. In addition, students take courses in English composition, small business management, and agribusiness.

Some people prepare for the field by participating in an apprenticeship. The National Association of Landscape Professionals offers a Landscape Management Apprenticeship Program that is registered with the U.S. Department of Labor. Visit https://www.landscapeprofessionals.org/apprenticeship for more information. 

Other Education or Training

Many professional associations provide continuing education seminars, workshops, and webinars. For example, the National Association of Landscape Professionals offers webinars such as Pricing Your Lawn Care Services for Profit, Protecting Pollinators and Our Ability to Control Damaging Insects, and Safety & Health Issues: What You and Your Team Need to Know. The American Horticultural Society, Tree Care Industry Association, and the International Society of Arboriculture also provide professional development opportunities. 

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Though there are no national certification standards, many states require certification for workers who apply pesticides. Other states require landscape contractors to obtain a license.

Voluntary certification is available to those who want increased opportunities or to advance their career. The National Association of Landscape Professionals offers the following certification designations:

  • landscape industry certified interior technician
  • landscape industry certified technician–exterior
  • landscape industry certified manager
  • landscape industry certified horticultural technician
  • landscape industry certified lawn care manager
  • landscape industry certified lawn care technician (cool season lawns)

Other organizations, such as the Professional Grounds Management Society and the International Society of Arboriculture, offer additional levels of certification based on education and experience levels.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Previous landscaping, gardening, or other related experience will be helpful for aspiring horticultural technicians.

To enjoy and succeed in horticulture, you should have an eye for esthetic beauty and a love of nature. Creative and artistic talents help in arranging flowers in a retail setting or organizing plants in a garden or greenhouse. Horticultural technicians must also possess people skills, since they work closely with professionals as well as clients. If running their own business, technicians need to be detail-oriented, self-motivated, and organized.