HORTICULTURISTS try to find better ways to grow, harvest, store, process and ship fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants. They conduct experiments and investigate problems of breeding, production, storage, processing, and transit of fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables, flowers, bushes, and trees. They conduct experiments to develop new and improved varieties of the same, to increase crop yields, quality, and nutritional value. They work to develop plants that resist disease and grow well in all climates and adapt to different soils, uses, or processes. They determine the best way to plant, cultivate, spray, and harvest the crops.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $60,000 average per year ($28.75 per hour)
- A small occupation (12,100 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow moderately (1.5% per year)
A bachelor's degree is generally sufficient for HORTICULTURISTS in some jobs in applied research or for assisting in basic research, but a master's or doctoral degree is required for basic research. A Ph.D. is usually needed for college teaching and for advancement to administrative research positions. Horticulturists are required to have a pesticide license. They must be certified to apply restricted-use pesticides.