Horticulture is the science and art of growing and caring for plants. Plants make a significant contribution to our health and wellness as ingredients in food and medicinal products, as well as in our recreational spaces: landscapes, parks, botanical gardens, natural areas, and hiking trails. Additionally, plants provide ecosystem benefits such as pollination services, healthy forests, support of wildlife habitat, and ecological diversity. The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) O*NET Database* has listed “Foresters” and “Soil and Plant Scientists” among its “Bright Outlook” career pathways. The USDOL defines bright outlook occupations as those expected to grow rapidly in the next several years, to have large numbers of job openings, and/or to be new and emerging occupations.
This publication highlights some of the many career pathways in horticulture. 4-H youth and 4-H club leaders can use the document to explore potential career interests. A career pathway is a workforce development strategy that assists young people and 4-H youth in their transition from education to the actual workforce. 4-H members can use some of the career pathways outlined below to explore different careers and determine their interest level before they graduate from high school. These career pathways can lead to knowledge and experience gained, as well as opportunities for individual or club service learning projects.
Youth can learn more about pursuing a career in horticulture by getting hands-on experience and working on 4-H horticulture projects. Examples include participating in the Florida 4-H Horticulture Identification and Judging competition, or setting up a 4-H Gardening Project.
Horticulture Career Pathways
Research other careers in horticulture, including tissue culture technology, marketing, etc., to explore more possibilities. Check out additional 4-H resources to develop career readiness. Contact your local Extension office to learn more about horticulture, or to get involved in a 4-H youth horticulture project.
O*NET OnLine. (2023). Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources. https://www.onetonline.org/find/career?c=1
Florida 4-H Curriculum Clearinghouse. (2019). Florida 4-H Curriculum Clearinghouse. https://florida4h.ifas.ufl.edu/media/florida4hifasufledu/docs/Florida_4-H_Curriculum-Clearing-House-2019-20.pdf
*O*NET Online Career Pathway Database is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration, and developed by the National Center for O*NET Development.