What Does a Horticultural Technician Do?

Horticulturists (441C) use their gardening knowledge and skills in many different ways and in many different settings: some in maintaining formal gardens, others in golf courses or cemeteries and parks.

Job -Related Skills, Interests and Values

  • Spreading fertilizer, spraying for weeds or pests and diseases, watering, repairing and mowing lawns, pruning shrubs and trees
  • Planting trees and other plant material
  • Using a variety of gardening and power tools and implements safely and effectively
  • Communicating with landscape designers, customers and co-workers
  • Providing advice and guidance to customers on care of trees, flowers, shrubs, plants and lawns, growing techniques and gardening products
  • Keeping up with changing trends in gardening (e.g. water gardens)

Additional information on training standards for this particular trades in the Service sector may be found on the Ontario College of Trades (OCOT) website at: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/wp-content/uploads/TS-HorticulturalTechnician441C_EN.pdf

To view the Essential Skills necessary for someone working in this field, click on the following link for NOC code 2225:

http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/es_search-eng.do?titleKeyword=horticultural+technician&source=2&modify=Go%21&noc=2225

What Preparation and Training Do You Need?

You must complete Grade 12 with a secondary school diploma, before entering a college program in horticulture, or an apprenticeship of 5400 hours of on-the-job training as well as an 8 week and a 12 week block of in-school theory training during the apprenticeship. Completion of an examination is required in order to receive a Certificate of Qualification. This is the minimum to be apprenticed in this trade under the (OCTAA) Ontario College of Trades Apprenticeship Act (2009). Please note that minimum entry requirements to this and other trades are currently under review by the Ontario College of Trades.

If you are currently attending high school, you may benefit from enroling in a Horticulture and Landscaping Specialist High Skills Major Program. For additional information, please click the following link:

http://edu.gov.on.ca/eng/studentsuccess/pathways/shsm/landscaping.pdf

What’s Your Future as a Horticulturist?

Depending on the direction you select, you could work in a Nursery/Greenhouse operation, or with a landscaping contractor. In either job, you may progress to supervisory positions or become self-employed. The work itself is physically demanding. Because spring and fall are busy times in this industry, workers need to be flexible and work longer hours during peak periods. Some people employed in this field work part-time, but the majority work full-time (sometimes seasonally) for employers that include:

  •  Wholesale or Retail Nursery Greenhouse Operations
  • Retail Stores with Gardening sections
  • Landscape contractors
  • Agricultural companies
  • Florists
  • Service firms to agriculture

Wage Rate

  • Apprentices earn substantially less per hour than fully qualified staff
  • As you acquire skills and expertise, your wage rate increases
  • Earning potential is between $15,000 - $40,000 per year for full-time work, with the potential for more as a supervisor or independent operator

Self-Rating

Ask Yourself: Is Working as a Horticulturist for You?

Can you stand on your feet for 10-12 hours per day, move heavy bags and push/wheel large trolleys loaded with plants?

Yes      No

Are you able to perform repetitive physical tasks such as bending, planting, raking, pruning, digging, mowing?

Yes      No

Do you communicate and interact well with customers and co-workers?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy selecting and using rocks, plants, trees and shrubs to create effects in the landscape?

Yes      No

Can you look at blueprints or diagrams and visualize how things should look?

Yes      No

Do you enjoy keeping up with and learning about new trends in this field?

Yes      No

Do you mind working weekends and holidays?

Yes      No

If you answered Yes to most of these questions, a career as a Horticulturist may be for you!

You may also want to explore other careers that require similar interests and skills, such as:

  • Nursery/Greenhouse Operator/Manager
  • Landscape Construction Worker
  • Arborist/ Utility Arborist
  • Florist
  • Painter & Decorator
  • Baker

 

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