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Greenhouse Manager: Information About Greenhouse Management Careers

Greenhouse managers oversee the daily operations of facilities that cultivate plants for research and commercial use. They may choose and plant seeds, maintain greenhouse systems and facilities, train and supervise employees, maintain records and order supplies. Read further to learn the training and skills requirements, in addition to the salary expectation and employment outlook, to see if this career is the right one for you.

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Career Definition for a Greenhouse Manager

The cultivation of plants in a controlled environment is the domain of a greenhouse manager, who may grow vegetables and herbs, ornamental plants or rare flowers from seeds or cuttings to be used for research, wholesale or commercial use. These professionals supervise plant-breeding and cross-hybridization, plant nutrition and protection, pest and disease control, harvesting and the maintenance of systems controlling the greenhouse environment, such as HVAC and irrigation. They supervise and train staff, control inventory of seeds and plants, create progress reports and ensure compliance with environmental and safety regulations. Greenhouse managers may also create budgets, meet with research personnel and interact with customers of commercial greenhouses. They are employed by universities, research organizations, agricultural companies, nurseries and plant wholesalers throughout the United States.

Education Associate in greenhouse management, bachelor's in horticulture or plant science
Job Skills Plant cultivation, pest and disease control, communication, safety, computer skills
Median Salary (2015)* $64,170 (all farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* -2% (all farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Careers generally require an associate degree in greenhouse management or the related fields of technical agricultural or floriculture; a bachelor's degree in horticulture, plant sciences or agriculture is another option. Some employers will accept a high school diploma when accompanied with greenhouse or plant breeding experience. Extension programs in greenhouse management are also offered through many universities. The Horticultural Research Institute (HRI) offers scholarship information for horticulture students planning careers in plant cultivation (www.hriresearch.org).

Essential Skills

Greenhouse managers must be experts in horticulture, plant cultivation, pest and disease control and greenhouse technology. They must have strong communication, training, management and supervisory skills, as well as knowledge of safety and environmental regulations. Computer and recordkeeping skills are essential. Greenhouse managers working in commercial facilities also need strong customer service, budgeting and inventory management skills. People working in greenhouses must be able to work in warm, humid conditions.

Career Forecast and Economic Outlook

Demand for greenhouse management professionals often varies by region. Membership in associations, such as the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA), can provide current industry news and links to regional greenhouse grower associations, which may enhance networking opportunities (www.anla.org). In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers, including greenhouse managers, was $64,170.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options within this field include:

Soil and Plant Scientist

These scientists research crops, soil and agricultural products, in addition to writing grants and sometimes teaching at universities. A minimum of a bachelor's degree in a related field is required for entry into this profession, but many have advanced degrees, the BLS notes. Professionals in this field should see average increases in available jobs from 2014-2024, with 7% growth predicted, according to the BLS. Annual median wages in 2015 for soil and plant scientists came to $60,050.

Conservation Scientist and Forester

Usually having a bachelor's degree in forestry or a similar field, these professionals manage the quality of various natural resources, in addition to overseeing the quality of parks and forests. Average employment growth of 7% was forecast by the BLS during the 2014-2024 decade for conservation scientists and foresters. The annual median salary for these professionals was $61,110 in 2015.

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