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At a crossroads with education...

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by abadiet, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. abadiet

    abadiet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    Hows its going everyone,

    So as the title implies I am unsure as to what to do with my continuing my education. Im a 26 year old veteran about to finish my AA degree next semester. Problem I am having is should I continue on and get a traditional 4yr degree, or (more than likely) enroll in the University of Florida's pest control technology certificate program thereby qualifying me by education to take the exam and get licensed. I should also mention that I currently work for my fathers landscape/Property Maintenance/Irrigation/Tree Service Co. (licensed individually for each). Ultimately I'm thinking about my future and whats going to make me the most profitable and successful. No one can deny that having a bachelors in business administration wouldnt open a bunch of doors for someone. Not to mention that its an incredibly flexible degree and I would be able to work in wide range of business related fields.

    But the reality is the economy SUCKS right now and companies aren't hiring, going under, etc Im sure I don't have to remind you guys. Even if I did get hired right out school I absolutely hate the idea of having to start out at bottom of the totem pole at some whatever company! My fathers company is going into its 24th year and I have literally watched the company grow from a truck and trailer parked alongside our house to the 20+ man operation we have going today. There's a personal attachment I have with the business, but I also see the incredible potential for growth. Our irrigation and tree service divisions are only operating at about what i would estimate to be 50% of there capacity. Furthermore the addition of pest control qualifier would really separate us from the pack and put us in a different "league". The problem here is I am required to work for a licensed company for 1 year, but based on what I have learnt from asking around no one really seems to keen on hiring someone on the pretense they are qualifying a future competitor.... With the Post 9/11 GI Bill I get a 1,800$ monthly housing stipend, plus what I get working part time for the old man I am able to live pretty good:). Is there a way I could "intern" at golf course or a chemical supplier to get my OJT??? I don't want to spend the time getting the Pest Control Tech. Cert just to get stonewalled or have to bust my a$$ and take a pay cut to go gut it out dragging hoses through yards working for someone else.... I also don't want to be dishonest and have an owner invest his time training some one he thinks may be a longtime time employee when that is not my intention.

    I guess the point is i'm looking for a sounding board and perhaps some advice and or perspective...... Thanks for taking the time to read.

    BTW I operate out of South Florida.
  2. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Messages: 5,954

    I sincerely thank you for your service for our Country. Here's a quote from a hort professor when I attended college: "Unless you own your own business (green industry)
    you will never be wealthy". Food for thought.

    Anybody else?
  3. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Plan to do what you'll enjoy... Money doesn't replace enjoyment of your daily routine...

    Sounds like the GI Bill has been expanded since the Viet Nam years... I went to school for Hort. and Botany... they wouldn't talk about turf back then... too much in contributions from the fert and chem companies I suppose... :)
  4. abadiet

    abadiet LawnSite Member
    Messages: 12

    yea its incredible VA pays for 100% of tuition cost monthly housing stipend and 1000$ a year for books.
  5. doug1980

    doug1980 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    I too am a vet and decided to enroll in the Pest Control Certificate program at U of F. Even after getting that certificate you will still have to work under a licensed company for 1 year. I have been doing Pest Control/Lawn Care since 2003 even had a DOD Applicators License, but still have to work under a Florida licensed company for 1 year to be able to test. I suggest you use as much of your GI Bill as you can, you earned it. Thanks for your service.
  6. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,737

    Nice to see another Vet on here. I plan to go back to school and use my GI Bill. Really wanna finish my Horticulture Degree. Do what is going to make you happy and something u enjoy
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Ric

    Ric LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,969


    I can't make a decision for you but I can tell you my personal experiences. I have the BS Degree in Horticulture. But if I had to do it all over again I would go for the Business Education. The reason is as a Business owner I spend more time running a business than doing the Technical work. I have the Florida CPO and I had the Irrigation License along with Several other certification which have since been dropped. Yes the one stop shopping of Pest and Irrigation puts you in big boy category. My business really took off with the ability to offer One Stop Shopping. But Read Chapter 482. Even with a 4 years degree you need to work under a CPO for one year. HOWEVER 24 Horticulture credit hour is all you need to also only work a year under a CPO. That is 8 electives.

    I never worked for a Pesticide Company I didn't Own. I never worked in the Green industry until I was 56 years old. I went back to college and got a AS and then a BS. But in the mean time I was lucky enough to build a company that could Afford to hire a CPO. The CPO soon paid their own way and I then bought out a Irrigation company which came with the Licensee. By the time I sat for these tests I already had 3 years under a CPO and didn't need the College Credits for test qualifying. Sure My college helped me pass all these test with Flying colors EXCEPT The contractor law test. Both the Commercial Landscape install and Irrigation License require the Contractor Law test. I failed that test first time by 2 points and passed it the second time by one point.

    So I wished I had gone the business route because a good businessman can hire technical Help.

    BTW In my day as a Nam vet, I only got $ 143 a month G I Bill.
  8. VLTS

    VLTS LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    Thank you for your service!!
    Go back to school!!
    Interesting thread, i must say, because one of my friends from college and i were talking about this exact situation this past weekend. He is now a professor where we both got our associates. Both of us continued on our education to get a Bachelors degree at the same university too. (20+ years ago)
    The situation is, he has a student who's family has a very successful landscape business. But the student is indecisive about continuing his education. What my friend and I both agreed on is that if the business is sucessfull, what is two years? Yes, you may change it quickly, but in two years it will still be there for you. Just think of what you can do to it after two more years of education!! You will be able to think much further outside of the box, and expand that business much further down the road.....Plus just think of the fun you will have!! Sometimes I wish i could go back!!
  9. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,705

    I agree. The business degree is helpful and very flexible. Know marketing, accounting, finance, business strategy, business law--it can never hurt.
  10. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,751

    I will throw another curve, split it down the middle like I did.
    2 year degree in business management
    2 year degree in Agriculture with a concentration in landscape and turf management.

    Look into ways to forgo the 1 year working for another company, in NY if you are the business owner they will forgive the field experience if you have a degree and have taken the 30 hour required course before you pass the written test.

    Good luck and thank you for your service.

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