Education In Horticulture..

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by mcw615, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I am 20 years old, I decided to take 2 years of a break after high school to get my business going more before I started into college. I'm pretty sure this is the field I want to stick with, I enjoy my work and ofcourse there are days I dread. I have been planning on working towards a business degree, and therefore have something I can use towards this business or if I decide to leave this I have that degree to fall back on vs. having something very specific. I plan to take all online classes at community then transfer online to a university for my bachelors.

    I would get an associates or bachelors in horticulture through Virginia Tech but of course that is impossible with working already in the field.

    My community college offers a Certificate in Horticulture, 29 credit hours but they don't offer every class in order/each semester because they have and will always be short on instructors they said or can't open a class because of only 2 students needing it, so they will try again the next semester. So I have thought about even purchasing the books used offline, and give myself a degree, I would really like the education of the horticulture aspect of this and I believe that will become a huge asset because of the knowledge, but I don't want to advertise a feature of my company is an employee with a CERTIFICATE in Horticulture and a competitor has 1 Bachelors in horticulture and 2 other employees with associates in hort. - landscape and turf management.

    I am trying to think like a customer of who I would hire to do my project, and I would probably choose the company with the degrees but if I build a strong reputation of knowledge as if I had a degree then I believe that will redeem my company, though it will night be an overnight thing.

    Adivce/Suggestions are welcome!
  2. neighborguy

    neighborguy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 186

    I have worked for three different companies (two smaller ones and one of the largest in the state) and have never heard of anyone asking if the employees have degrees in Horticulture. I think customers are more interested in professional certifications and good customer references.

    I do agree that having the knowledge is a much better idea than not.
  3. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    A degree related to this industry should be sought to increase your knowledge and abilities rather than for marketing simply because no one will ask. They can tell if you are an idiot or if you seem to know what you are talking about. There are plenty of idiots with degrees and plenty of people who are great at what they do without a degree. There are also people who lie and tell you they have degrees. This is an industry based on what you have done, not on what your potential is.

    A good education can do great things for you.
  4. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    I think I am going to just purchase all the textbooks in the program, start with the more important ones first so I get that knowledge and maybe just take a couple of the important classes at community to gain great knowledge of the material and then instead work towards a degree in business as I had planned but also work towards studying to become a state certified horticulturist, I believe that certification will help both as marketing and build a strong reputation because of knowledge
  5. AGLA

    AGLA LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,774

    Getting a degree or certification forces you to study things that you otherwise would not. This is very beneficial combined with your experience because it gives you more background which helps you process your experiences. Classroom is exponentially more effective than skimming through books just as actual experience is compared to school. Books benefit education, education benefits experience.

    No one ever notices if you have a degree or certificate. They do notice that you know what you are doing or not (coming from a guy with a BLA and a Registered Landcape Architect). My licensing and education has been a great benefit to me. I'm not sure that many have any idea or concern that I have either, but I would not be able to do what I do without them.
  6. mcw615

    mcw615 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 473

    VERY well said...
  7. I am in a program at my local CC right now that is for Hort. I have a BA in Finance from UF, so I do have a college degree, but like you, want to gain a lot of knowledge in the industry. Like AGLA said, someone can have a degree and be an idiot, but more likely than not, having certain certifications combined with actual experience will help you go far in my opinion. I am taking Arboriculture this semester and the class book is the study guide for the ISA Arborists exam. Once I complete the class, I can take the exam right away since I own my own Landscaping business. Do I know everything or close to that about arboriculture? No. However, I will learn as much as I can, go to seminars, read, etc. Do you think someone who wants their tree trimmed properly is going to call a certified arborist or someone who isn't? I would say they call the certified arborist. I want to take my company to a level where I am dealing with high-end work. I think the actual "lawn mowing" is a big rat race down here that I don't want to be a part of forever. It helped me get started and will continue to help me along. Eventually, I want to be doing the high end landscaping designs and installs, big money arborist type work, and maintenance on high end homes. I will get there, and the classes I am taking for Horticulture have been a great jumpoff point. I say go for the degree if you can. It will only help you.
  8. GrazerZ

    GrazerZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 670

    I have to agree with the positives for the hort degree.having more knowledge-not the paper-is the easiest way to seperate yourself from the competition. For me, its to the point with my guys that they do not get raises until they learn new skills. They have to go for certifications,lighting, irrigation classes, whatever to get more pay. The amount of effort is related to the amount of increase. I say get all the info you can. Use any downtime for classes or studying also. The more you become knowledgeable the more you will seperate yourself and then the money will come.
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  9. MulchMan88

    MulchMan88 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    i to am in the same boat. been in the industry 5 years and decided this is where i wanted to go. im at radford right now, and just finished my application for virginia tech. plan to start in the HORT program this coming spring. i had a business back in richmond but put it on hold to come down to go to school and work for a big company down here to get the experience. a degree in this field is totally worth it.
  10. I think that if you want to be more than a mow and go operation, you need the knowledge. There is big bucks in this industry if you do the landscape designs,installs,hardscaping,arborist work,etc.

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