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How do I get certified in horticulture?

If you’re new to this subject, horticulture is the cultivation of garden crops, notably fruits, vegetables and plants. In terms of scale, it is larger than domestic gardening and generally smaller than field agriculture. Factors like the climate, terrain and regional characteristics influence the kind of crops a horticulturalist specialises in and dictates their likelihood of success. 

In the past 10 years, the New Zealand horticulture sector has increased by more than 60% to $6.4 billion in 2019, with 60,000 people employed in this thriving industry. And long story short, the outlook for this sector is sunny – with continued growth expected. 

With that in mind, perhaps you’re wondering if there are online horticulture certificate programs that can help you get a foot in the door of this diverse career? Let’s take a closer look at the route to becoming certified in horticulture, a promising industry that can offer long-term career prospects.

Horticulture sector infographic

What does a horticulturalist do?

Kiwis are no strangers to the great outdoors or the horticulture that surrounds them. A horticulturalist will spend most of their time managing the health, maintenance and growth of plants or investigating new varieties of plants and how they can be used. 

They can work in nurseries where they are customer-facing, in research and development, or even in wineries in a hands-on capacity in the wine-making process. Regardless of the elements, they work with, horticulturalists have a broad knowledge of plant species and how to strengthen or weaken the growth of these species.

Horticulturalist skills

A horticulturalist should enjoy practical, outdoorsy, mechanical activities. They should be capable of undertaking heavy work and be comfortable working with machinery. The hours are long and you need to be ready to work outdoors in all weather! 

In contrast, working in a nursery means working closely with customers where interpersonal and people skills are essential. You’ll need to listen to questions carefully and be able to respond with clear and confident advice, so great communication skills are a must!

Types of horticulture

There are several types of horticulture, including:

  • Floriculture: Involves the wholesale production and preparation of flowers that will go to a florist, to be sold to customers. Large nurseries may supply flowers to greenhouses that refine their look before passing them on to customers.
  • Landscape horticulture: The selection, production, marketing and maintenance of landscape plants for a specific space. 
  • Olericulture: The production and harvest of vegetable crops. New Zealand olericulture helps to ensure this booming export market continues to thrive.
  • Pomology: The cultivation of fruit and nuts, the study and understanding of how to properly plant, harvest, store, market and process this lucrative area of horticulture.

Horticulture careers

So many different areas fall under the umbrella of horticulture, it’s almost a challenge to narrow it down. But here is a sample of just some of the career options available working in horticulture:

  • Landscape Gardener
  • Crop Worker
  • Nursery Worker
  • Greenskeeper
Types of horticulture infographic

Become a horticulturalist

Does a career in horticulture sound appealing to you? Having read this article, do you think you’d like to do an online horticulture certificate and take what might be a hobby or interest in gardening to the next level? 

Completing an online horticulture course is the first step in the right direction. Our online horticulture courses include certificates in:

  • Horticulture: Runs you through the foundations of horticulture, plant science, soils, weeds, pest control, as well as teaching you to identify plants such as shrubs, trees, plants and how to grow the different species.
  • Horticulture Business: Teaches you all about different kinds of plants, soils, lawns, flowers and much more! The course also has a strong business component so that you are not only a skilled and knowledgeable gardener but also have a firm understanding of the business side of horticulture.
  • Landscaping: You’ll learn how to pre-plan your design, an understanding of the important landscaping elements, the types of materials that are needed to create the perfect garden and how to bring it all together to develop the perfect space.
  • Nature Park Management: Enables you to learn about and gain employment in natural environments, designed to help you develop an understanding of basic ecological principles, nature park design, soil management, plant maintenance and land rehabilitation.

By achieving a certificate in one of these horticultural areas, you’ll begin the first stage of your career in this wonderful sector, and will gain a solid base of knowledge to continue building upon with work experience and/or further study.

New Zealand’s horticulture industry has always enjoyed a strong domestic and international reputation as a sustainable producer of premium safe food. Standards in New Zealand are high across all stages of the supply chain, from farm to consumer, and this is important as people take a keen interest in their health and how their food is sourced. 

This means the opportunity to work with both small-scale family farms or medium to large scale operations offers plenty of diverse career choices in a highly regarded sector. But to join this lucrative and extremely rewarding space requires specialist knowledge, which is why getting certified in horticulture can be massively beneficial.

Online courses in horticulture

Studying a horticulture course online is a great way to investigate if you’d like to pursue a long-term career in this sector, whilst you develop both a strong foundation in plant science and elevate your expertise. 

Whether you want to simply create your own home oasis with an online horticulture certificate, or begin a thriving enterprise with our horticulture business course – you can find the skills you are looking for from expert tutors. 

Dive into fascinating modules in plant science, soils, weeds & pest control. Develop the skill of identifying specific plants, shrubs, trees, flowers & fruits. Unearth the secrets of soil management, propagation, lawn maintenance & fabulous flower health to help grow these different species effectively. All of this and more is available through studying horticulture online.

Studying horticulture online with us also means you can learn at a time that suits you, as you’ll have 24-hour access and tutor support whenever you need it. Plus, with flexible and self-paced study, you can learn around work and family time, and use your spare time in a productive, proactive and green-fingered way! 


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