Kangan Institute Blog

Career Opportunities in Horticulture

The horticulture industry is Australia’s second largest rural production industry after wheat, with fruit and nuts. The horticulture industry can be separated into two broad categories, the production sector, which largely involves the producing of food crops and the service sector which is involved with growing plants for ornamental or recreational purposes.

The majority of products are grown for fresh or processing outlets within Australia although horticultural exports make up approximately 13% of total value production. Australia also has a competitive advantage as it is close to densely populated and expanding markets in Asia, and also as Australia is a counter seasonal supplier for northern hemisphere markets.

Students with a certification in horticulture are able to enter a broad range of challenging and rewarding professional jobs in horticulture including production, management, marketing, education and research. It is also common for students to go on to open their own business enterprises such as fruit and vegetable production, floristry, landscape design and build, nurseries and garden centers.

Plant Pathologist

The role of a plant pathologist is learning about the diseases that attack plants. Their research is not only to help cure the plants of these diseases but to also learn more about how to cure diseases in people. You will grow plants in a laboratory, inject plants with pathogens and watch and record the results. You will also take samples of diseased plants and run tests on them to determine the characteristics of the disease and to find out how that disease responds to certain forms of treatment you will need to perform a range of experiments.

With this job you can also expect to travel to the locations where the diseased plants live, here you will test the soil, air and the other surrounding factors that will have an effect on the development of the plants. You can also conduct research to create new varieties of plants that are resistant to diseases. This is an important contribution to society, particularly if you are dealing with food crops.

Nursery Worker

Young plants require a lot of care and a job as a nursery worker is to do just that, here you will tend to flowers, trees and shrubs. This will help them to develop into strong and thriving plants with your help to plant, feed and water them. Certain plants may need harvesting to sell in flower shops or for the use of research purposes.

Beyond the daily activities of caring for plants, you will also assist with data analysis, review reports for trends or any other insightful information to discover new uses for your plants and establish improved ways to help them grow.

Plant Care Worker

A plant care worker tends to ornamental plants on various customer premises and apply their knowledge of horticultural requirements and using items such as insecticides, fertilizers and gardening tools. You will be required to read work orders and supply requisitions to determine job requirements and confers with supervisors to clarify work procedures.

Your job may also include loading plants and supplies onto trucks and drive trucks to premises and carry the required supplies for the work area. This will include examining plants and soil to determine moisture level, using water sensor gauge and watering plants according to requirements of species. You will also observe plants to detect insects and diseases and identify these problems and determine treatments.

Horticulture Consultant

As a horticultural consultant, you can specialise in one area, or cover various other areas. You might give advice on the types of grass for specific uses such as the local golf course, football field or recommend low maintenance plants for the city park or to discuss plans to the council about plans for a public garden. You can also give advice to farmers about crop choices, soil usage and fertilizer options. Your main goals are to beautify, to successfully cultivate and to achieve higher yields while meeting a business’s financial objectives.

This blend of horticultural knowledge and business understanding allows you to create presentations for your local park or zoo, design colourful displays for estates or decorate the gardens of stately parks. With this role, not only are you knowledgeable about which plants will thrive in specific areas, how much water and light they require and what type of soil they need but you will also understand the technical and business side of this industry.

Ornamental Horticulturist

An ornamental horticulturist works with plants used in decoration or recreation, this is most commonly done at a nursery, floral shop or landscaping company. Customers will usually come to you for advice with a specific needs, whether it be questions about their trees and plants or if they are looking for a low maintenance flower bed. As a florist, you will work with fresh, dried and silk flowers to put together corsages and any other floral arrangements such as wedding bouquets and altar decorations.

Horticultural Technician

All plants need someone to plant, nurture and help maintain them in the best possible way. This role requires you to grow and sustain plants so they can be used for food, medicine, education or decoration. Your main duties may include planting, watering, fertilizing, pruning and transplanting plants as well as diagnosing and treating plant diseases.

Whichever area you choose to specialise in, the plants you tend to will be used in landscaping, sold at garden centres, planted in parks or studied and processed in labs where they may be used for drugs, beauty products and perfumes.

Studying the Certificate III in Horticulture (AHC30716) is a great opportunity for those wishing to enter the horticulture industry, for those already in the industry and also for those who just want a more in-depth knowledge surrounding horticulture or thinking about starting their own business. Learn more about our courses in animal care, horticulture and related areas. 

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