How to Become a Horticulturalist


Horticulture extends from arborism to landscaping, and as a horticulturalist your range of careers could send you packing off to help fight soil erosion, raising a beautiful indoor greenhouse garden, or caring and pruning for the tops of ancient wonders as a tree surgeon.

With endless possibilities, the horticulture industry is a great place for anyone thinking of developing a green thumb. The job prospects are many, and there’s an industry anywhere you look – after all, every city council, suburb, and country town needs people who know how to maintain plants.

As a society we rely heavily upon the environment, and most of the time nature’s generosity isn’t reciprocated. The horticulture industry is constantly in need of people who know how to shape, look after, and maintain it.

That’s where you come in.

What do I need?

One common binding thread unites everyone in this sector. Horticulturalists have an inherent love for nature and the outdoors, allowing them to thrive during their work.

They bring passion, energy, education and the experience necessary to create and maintain beauty in nature.

You’ll need:

  • A love for plant life and nature.
  • A desire to grow and help the environment.
  • A vision and passion for yourself in the industry.
  • The correct accreditation.
  • A mind for the bigger picture, and ability to manage interconnected systems.
  • A green thumb doesn’t hurt, but even the blackest thumb can learn the ropes with a little experience and care!

Career paths

If you’re considering Horticulture as a career, you have plenty of room for specialisation. The Australian horticulture industry has both a large agricultural and community sector, with major industries in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia (although there are niche industries in Western Australia and Tasmania).

Plenty of crops, towns and places are in dire need of cultivation, which means they need you to step in. Whether you plan on catering to an urban community or one based in the countryside, you can choose to follow one of these career directions:

Floriculture: If you love flowers, look no further. Floriculture (also known as flower farming) covers everything up to and including the breeding, cultivation, growth, and business side of flowers. Whether you’re cultivating at a nursery or prettying up the neighbourhood, you’re sure to find yourself immersed in a myriad of colours and aromas.

Landscape Horticulture: The design and development of gardens and other living areas. As a landscaper, you’ll be the architect of a cohesive environment, fulfilling form and function to a range of clients. You’ll be able to make each project a masterpiece, and potentially make a name for yourself as a conductor of beauty.

Arborist: Arborists are to plant-life what vets are to pets, and what doctors are to humans – it’s no mistake that arborists who specialise in trees are called ‘Tree Surgeons’. If you choose this path, you’ll be working with plants on an individual level, on the tree rather than the forest. It’s best suited for those people who appreciate finer details and long-term projects, and want to work in a detailed, specialised field.

Farming: By far, the largest sector of horticulture in Australia is farming. Horticulture (excluding grapes) is our third largest production industry, just behind meat and grains, and totals $8.73 billion per year:

  • Vegetables and similar crops account for $3,510 million, and have a wide variety in themselves. Queensland is famous for its tropical crops and macadamia production, while Tasmania produces a lot of the world’s wasabi.
  • Fruit and nuts are our second largest horticultural source of income, totalling $3,187 million. Australian fruit accounts for so much of our export market that we’re currently exporting twice as much fruit as we’re importing globally.
  • Flower farming we’ve discussed a little above. However, it’s important to note the scale of it – flower-based botany and nurseries alone are a $1.25 billion dollar industry.

How we can help

You’ll be studying with industry professionals, working through our comprehensive 14-unit course at a pace that suits your schedule. You’ll learn the basics of plant propagation and caring, the foundations of landscaping and design, and the ins-and-outs of the technology that you’ll be using on the field.

By the end of your course, you’ll be familiar with the industry from both an employee and managerial perspective, coached by industry tutors. You’ll be ready to jump straight into an entry-level position, with the tools on-hand to fast track your career.

Online, career focused education that suits your lifestyle.

See our courses
Gladys Mae


Gladys Mae serves as the General Manager and Head of Student Services at the International Career Institute. Gladys holds a degree in Mass Communication - Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos. She joined ICI in 2010 and has over the past 12 years been instrumental in providing leadership and guidance to staff and students alike. Prior to joining ICI Gladys led a multifaceted career with key roles in the banking and business process outsourcing industries.