Careers in Horticulture
MSU Horticulture academic programs provide a range of concentrations and interdisciplinary opportunities to fit your individual interests and passions.
Graduates with horticulture knowledge and skills enter a broad range of challenging and rewarding professional careers in production, management, marketing, education and research.
There are many different career paths that horticulture graduates take.
Careers, Industries & Jobs
Production & Sales
Many horticulture alumni are entrepreneurs, business owners and managers. They operate businesses or manage orchards, vegetable farms, greenhouses, flower or plant shops, nurseries, landscaping services, garden centers or food processing firms.
Horticulture alumni also manage landscapes and plant collections in public gardens and conservatories. This career path offers people interested in both plants and people the best of both worlds!
Marketing & Communications
A career path in marketing includes supporting wholesale or retail sale of fresh or processed fruits and vegetables, seeds, cut flowers, house plants, floral arrangements or nursery stock. Horticulture graduates also become buyers or whole sale distributors of these items for chain stores and government or private institutions.
Marketing campaigns may also communications skills like writing, social media management, website development and design. Communications roles could includes writing for farm and garden magazines, industry publications, newspapers, blogs and websites, as well as television and radio production.
Researchers in horticulture seek ways to improve the yield and quality of fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants. They also develop methods for handling, storing and marketing these crops. Research specializations include in plant breeding, plant nutrition, plant growth regulation or other fascinating areas of plant research. (See more about the Horticulture Graduate Program at MSU.)
Teaching & Education
Horticulture teachers open the world of plant growing and share new ideas with people of all ages. 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. Additionally, public gardens often have educational programs.
The horticulture industry offers different career paths in consulting, research, development and technical services/sales. Canning and freezing companies, seed firms and manufacturers of fertilizers, spray materials, and farm equipment need personnel with horticultural training to fill a wide variety of jobs.
Government & Agency Inspection
Governmental and private agencies employ inspectors of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. These positions help maintain a high level of quality and uniformity in the produce industry, as well as ensure food safety and security.
Landscape Construction & Management
Horticulture also includes fields related to residential and commercial landscape projects as a landscape contractor and installer. The skills needed for these positions include interpretation of blueprints, estimating and bidding, sales and installation of plant material and hardscapes (patios, walls, arbors, etc.). Opportunities also exist in maintenance of these sites for private, public and sports entities.
Landscape designers create gardens with combinations of plant material and hardscapes. Skills include 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.
Pest management is an area that includes working with state and federal regulatory agencies, agricultural suppliers, processing corporations, large farm organizations and as agricultural agents to help keep plants healthy and thriving.
More Career & Job Information
- National Association of Landscape Professionals - Young Professionals Network
- Career Paths - The American Society of Horticultural Science
- Seed Your Future
- Gotham Greens Virtual Farm Tour