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Horticultural Sciences


Horticultural Sciences

 Instructor:  Ms. Ashley Owens   


Careers in Horticulture

Graduates from a Horticulture program may enter into a broad range of challenging and rewarding professional careers in production, research, communications, management, marketing, and education.

Possible professional activities for students after graduation include:

  • Production and Sales:  Operating a business or managing an orchard, vegetable farm, greenhouse, flower or plant shop, nursery, landscaping service, garden center, or food processing firm.

  • Public Gardens.  Managing landscapes and plant collections in public gardens and conservatories.  This offers the person interested in both plants and people the best of both worlds!

  • Marketing.  Being involved in the wholesale or retail sale of fresh or processed fruits and vegetables, seeds, cut flowers, house plants, floral arrangements, or nursery stock.  Being a buyer of these items for a chain store, a government or private institution, or wholesale distributor.

  • Research.  Seeking ways to improve the yield and quality of fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants.  Developing methods for handling, storing, and marketing these crops. Specializing in plant breeding, plant nutrition, plant growth regulation, or other fascinating areas of plant research.

  • Teaching.  Opening the world of plant growing to people of all ages and presenting new ideas to those already wise to the ways of plants are rewarding experiences. The United States needs qualified teachers of horticulture in high schools, technical schools, and universities. County extension agents and extension specialists often teach horticulture to adults.

  • Industry Support.  Being a consultant or doing research, development, technical services or sales.   Canning and freezing companies, seed firms, and manufacturers of fertilizers, spray materials, and farm equipment need personnel with horticultural training to perform a wide variety of tasks in research, development, technical service and sales.

  • Inspection.  Being an inspector of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables for government or private agencies.  Helping to maintain a high level of quality and uniformity in the produce industry.

  • Landscape Construction and Management.  Installing residential and commercial landscape projects as a landscape contractor. This includes interpretation of blueprints, estimating and bidding, sales, and installation of plant material and hardscapes (patios, walls, arbors, etc.). Opportunities also exist to maintain these sites.

  • Landscape Design.  Creating gardens with combinations of plant material and hardscapes. Knowing the appropriate plants to use to achieve the desired aesthetic effect and possessing enough knowledge of soil science and plant physiology to know what plants are suited to the conditions present on a particular site.

  • Communications.  Writing for farm and garden magazines, newspapers, television and radio can be a rewarding field for men and women trained in horticulture.

  • Pest Management.  Working with state and federal regulatory agencies, agricultural suppliers, processing corporations, large farm organizations, and as agricultural agents.

  • Arborist Technician (Urban Forestry) Pruning and performing other work on trees from the ground (or within 3 meters of the ground on ladders). In their work, Arborist Technicians identify plants, select rigging gear, and have knowledge of how to fall, limb and buck trees, assist climbers, chip brush, cut wood and clean-up sites after tree-care operations

Ten Reasons why you should take Horticulture and join FFA (Future Farmers of America).

1. Be part of the solution – There is a need to provide food to ever growing population. Working together to make it more efficient is being part of the solution. 2. Learn new skills  –  Whether it’s tractor driving, feed or meats identification to properly caring for plants and animals for competitions and everyday life. Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs (SAEs) allows students to learn about agriculture areas of their choosing outside of school. For some working with animals is a big plus. Many students didn’t grow up on a farm and this program gives them the opportunity for hands on learning. 3. Serve others – Community service projects let the students learn while helping those around them. 4. Develop leadership skills – FFA teaches leadership skills to our youth and creates the leaders of tomorrow. 5. Travel opportunities – FFA holds lots of conferences, which are a “big hit” with youth. The conferences were created to build leaders and help students confidence in themselves. 6.  Meet new people and make new friends – Gaining friendships across the nation. Meeting senators, congressman and commissioners. “I have friends all over the nation,” says Freeman, who has met senators, congressman, and county commissioners.  “As an FFA member you make so many new friends everywhere you go. We all share most of the same ideals and values,” Oesterreicher adds. Byrd stresses the importance of the networking opportunities.  “Much of the success that anyone experiences in life is due to the network of friends that we meet along our way,” he elaborates.  “The most influential people in the world are Ag Teachers,” Byrd continues, “who become mentors to students and keep in contact with their students in school and throughout.” 7.  Personal growth – Personal growth is one of the main components of FFA, Oesterreicher says. Students demonstrate their knowledge and skills at FFA career development events. “These competitive events challenge students to highly develop their knowledge and skills in order to have a competitive edge,” Byrd notes. 8. Career success  – FFA classes and programs open up new opportunities and help students fine-tune their career ambitions through direct practical experience in the agriculture field, according to Freeman, who has raised steer since the fourth grade. “I’m always doing ag stuff.” 9. Scholarship Opportunities – “Local FFA Chapters, Alumni groups, and Booster clubs provide scholarships to FFA members,” Byrd says. “In addition, the National FFA Foundation awards over $1.5 Million each year in scholarships to FFA members.” 10. It’s fun – Ag class is a whole lot more hands-on than other courses, Byrd says.  “Life is too short to waste – enjoy it as you grow, mature, learn, and give back to society.”  



Virginia FFA Organization


Virginia Tech Agricultural Technology Program


Virginia Master Gardener Program


American Horticulture Society


Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers


Agriculture Internships