How to Become an Expert on Gardening

Two Methods:Pursue Formal Education in GardeningPursue a Master Gardener Certification

Gardening is a hobby and a passion for many people. With the right approach, however, you can turn this hobby into a career and become an expert on gardening. There are many resources available to you in honing your gardening knowledge and skills, and utilizing these resources together will help you tailor yourself for the specific career you want. The guide below will offer steps for becoming a gardening expert through 2 distinct paths: classroom education and hands-on training.

Method 1
Pursue Formal Education in Gardening

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    Research degree options in your area. Degrees related to gardening are available in a variety of different fields, including horticulture, landscape design, orchard management, agricultural science, and even biology and biotechnology. Check out the degree offerings from various colleges and universities in your area. Offerings will range from 1-year certificates in landscaping to postgraduate degrees in horticulture and biology.
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    Consider what type of gardening career you are most interested in. The type of degree you pursue will affect your suitability for certain jobs. If you only want to work as a landscaper, a postgraduate degree might represent a waste of time and money. However, if you want to work as a botanist, agricultural engineer, or in another specialized profession, you'll want to plan coursework that prepares you for those specific fields.
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    Market your degree to potential employers. A degree in a gardening-related field demonstrates that you have a broad, holistic set of expertise. This type of knowledge is often most attractive to employers looking to fill management positions and any other jobs where analysis and problem-solving will be important. A gardening-related degree can prepare you for jobs such as managing a park, nursery, or botanical garden, working for biotechnology firms, or even working as an agricultural consultant for international organizations like the Peace Corps.

Method 2
Pursue a Master Gardener Certification

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    Contact your local cooperative extensive office. Another option for building gardening expertise is by pursuing the Master Gardener certification that is offered through the American Horticultural Society. You can begin this process by finding and contacting your local extension office, which is likely run by your county or a nearby university. Ask the extension office about the program, and sign up for the next available session (the training usually begins in late Winter).
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    Obtain the Master Gardener certification. This certification connotes a sharp expertise in gardening, and is obtained through several months of classroom training and a long period of volunteer work. Fees for the certification vary between locations, but are generally much lower than the cost of college tuition for a gardening-related degree. Note that the required volunteer work may include less glamorous tasks like answering phones.
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    Market your Master Gardener certification in order to build a career in gardening. Becoming a gardening expert through this program will open you to several different career opportunities. The Master Gardener certification cannot offer the specific industry training like some college degrees can, but it can get you into a career in landscaping, landscape management, and other jobs at local parks, nurseries, and gardens. This certification will also help you to build a reputation in case you want to work as a self-employed gardener or landscaper.


  • Note that you can also become a self-taught gardening expert with the right amount of discipline. Reading gardening books and volunteering for local gardening-related organizations are 2 ways to increase your expertise without formal training or schooling.

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Categories: Gardening