I don't have a degree and I don't think you need a related college degree to get started in this business but it sure wouldn't hurt. I know I'm impressed with the advertising I see out there for guys that have one.
As far as a degree being important for anyone we all want that high end homeowner as a customer and you could almost bet most have a college degree which landed them that job that is paying for the big home and paying you to take care of it.
I'm sure someone like that would see a LCO with a degree and want to hire him because they can relate to it.
In my full time job with the State Dept. of Ag a degree is not required. In my fifteen years on the job I've seen many people come in for job interviews and the ones with related degrees are always preferred over the ones without. Only problem is they are book smart and not field smart but that comes with time.
I will say that I have had tons of on the job training and certifications that have transfered over to the lawn/landscape business, soils and nutient management to name a few. I'm blessed in that I picked the right part-time job.
I would encourage any young person to get a degree in the career of their choosing. I feel in most cases it will at least get you a job interview if nothing else and thats all you can ask.
I've had clients ask me what college did I attend. I have to think working in a professional atmosphere and my wife having her Masters Degree has rubbed off on me in the way I communicate and conduct myself with clients.
You might not think so but there is a big difference when someone answers "Yes" as opposed to "Yeah".