What is horticulture and what do horticulturists do? Well, at their core, horticulturists are plant scientists. But the science must be put into practice...it has to have a practical application, and therefore, horticulturists apply plant science for the betterment of people. Horticulturists feed the world. Horticulturists make the world a healthier and more beautiful place to work and live. And students graduating from ISU’s Department of Horticulture find great jobs. In fact, countless numbers of satisfying and rewarding careers await our graduates. Check out the many options within the horticulture major and begin planning your future as a horticulturist:
Horticultural Food Crop Production and Management
Envision yourself a grower or supervisor at a company like Driscoll’s who grow premium fresh berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries) for markets around the world. Other career opportunities for graduates choosing this option include becoming a plant breeder, extension program specialist, small farm operator, vineyard manager, or have gone on to further their education in graduate school.
Landscape Design, Installation, and Management
If you like plants and enjoy the challenge of arranging them on a commercial or residential property in an aesthetically pleasing and functional way, then this option can be your gateway to a career in landscape design. In this option students receive individualized instruction, real-world, hand’s-on training, and are immersed in a dynamic and supportive professional culture that prepares students for job opportunities at landscape design/installation firms all over the country.
Ornamental Plant Production and Garden Center Management
Have you ever looked around your neighborhood, or your own back yard and wondered where all of those trees, shrubs, and flowers came from? Not surprisingly, horticulturists are responsible for growing landscape plants and selling them to you at the local garden center. Students choosing this option are passionate about growing plants on a large scale and getting them to their destination for customers to enjoy. And if you really like working with people, then a career in garden center sales and management will allow you to share your love of plants directly with the customer. Plants, people and rewarding careers await students choosing this option.
Have you ever thought about working for an arboretum or botanical garden? Or how about planning and maintaining the landscape of an internationally famous amusement park? Choose the public horticulture option and be prepared for exciting and rewarding careers at world-class gardens like the Chicago Botanic Gardens, Reiman Gardens, or the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. In public horticulture it’s all about bringing education and fun to the gardening public.
If you’ve ever gone golfing, played soccer, or mowed your own home lawn, then you already know something about the importance of turfgrass as a playing surface and integral component of any landscape. The turfgrass management option at ISU has an excellent national reputation and our students are known and sought-after by employers all over the country. Join the turfgrass team and earn yourself a position as an athletic field manager, golf course superintendent, lawn-care specialist, or municipal grounds professional.
Some of our students continue their horticultural education beyond the 4-year undergraduate degree, entering into M.S. or Ph.D. programs, and one way to prepare yourself for the rigors of graduate school is to choose the science option within the horticulture major. Alternatively, Science option students might decide to work in laboratories and or join research and development teams after graduation. Career options are limitless for students interested in the science of plants and their application for human betterment.