A master's degree in horticulture can be applied to several different careers in agriculture, research and design. Graduates can use their knowledge of plants to provide a different perspective to some of these careers as well. Explore a few of these related careers for those with a master's degree in horticulture.
Related Careers for a Master's Degree in Horticulture
|Job Title||Median Salary||Job Growth (2014-2024)*|
|Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers||$66,360 (2016)*||-2% (decline)|
|Food Scientists and Technologists||$63,950 (2016)*||3%|
|Landscape Designers||$45,644 (2017)**||5% (for landscape architects)|
|Botanists||$49,458 (2017)**||4% (for zoologists and wildlife biologists)|
|Soil and Plant Scientists||$62,300 (2016)*||7%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com
Farmers, Ranchers and Other Agricultural Managers
Although most farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers do not need a postsecondary education, some may choose to pursue bachelor's degrees in the field. A master's degree is not required, but those with a master's degree in horticulture can bring their advanced research knowledge to the job. The degree may prove most beneficial to horticultural specialty farmers and managers who supervise the growth and production of fruits for wine, vegetables, flowers and other plants that may be used in landscaping. These managers must plan and oversee the planting, growth and harvesting of their products, and they often manage the sales of these products. They also hire employees, handle the finances of the operation and buy and repair equipment as necessary.
Food Scientists and Technologists
Most food scientists choose to earn a master's degree or higher to give them the skills necessary to conduct research in their field. These scientists may use a background in horticulture to help find ways to improve the quality and sustainability of various plant foods, like fruits and vegetables. They study the basic elements of the foods we eat and try to increase the nutritional value and ensure that the foods are safe to eat. Much of their work is done in a lab, but they may still discover new food sources and/or ways to make processed foods safer and healthier.
Landscape designers usually hold an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree in horticulture or another related field. This background in horticulture helps them choose and care for the best plants for a particular landscape. These designers plan landscapes that may surround houses, businesses or other properties and must match the correct plants with the correct environments. To do this, they need to consider factors such as sunlight availability, soil composition, local climate and more.
Horticulture is considered a subspecialty of botany, and those with a master's degree in the field may be qualified for more advanced positions, such as research work. Botanists may study flowers, crops, ornamental plants and more, to further understand various aspects of these plants. They may focus their research on learning about a particular species of plant's structures, growth patterns or common ailments, like diseases.
Soil and Plant Scientists
Soil and plant scientists typically hold graduate degrees in their field, and horticulture could play a role in their understanding and research into crop productivity. Soil scientists focus on the nutrients present in a particular sample of soil and how those nutrients may help, harm or limit crop growth. Plant scientists also work to improve crop productivity, but they may suggest solutions dealing with weed or pest control. Both positions will likely need to travel to various locations to work on projects and present their findings to landowners and other interested parties.
Knowledge of horticulture practices and management techniques can be applied to several research-, design- or production-based careers, and a master's degree typically allows for graduates to move into more advanced positions within these careers. These jobs typically offer a median salary between $45,000 and $66,000.