Horticultural therapists are employed by hospitals, rehabilitation centers, botanical centers, government social service agencies, prisons, substance abuse programs, hospice and palliative care programs, community and botanic gardens, public and private schools, and assisted living and senior centers. In addition, horticultural therapists may work independently as consultants.
An internship completed during your college years provides an excellent way to make contacts with professionals in the field. These contacts may be able to help you find a job once you graduate. Also, by joining the American Horticultural Therapy Association, you will be able to network with other professionals and find out about job openings. Your school's career center may be able to provide you with information about employers looking to hire horticultural therapists. You can also apply directly to facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and botanical centers.
Advancement in this profession typically comes with increased education and experience. Horticultural therapists may advance by moving into management positions, and overseeing the work of other therapists on staff. Some advance by adding consulting to their current responsibilities. Others consider it an advancement to move into consulting full time. Still others move into teaching at schools offering horticultural therapy programs.
Tips for Entry
Become involved in gardening by doing work in your own garden, a community garden, or the local parks department.
Volunteer at a senior home or health care facility and offer to start a horticultural therapy program with the patients.
Find a part-time job at a florist or a nursery to gain experience in planting and maintaining flowers and plants.
Read the Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture (https://www.ahta.org/the-journal-of-therapeutic-horticulture) to learn more about the field.