Working through college


LawnSite Member
Hey guys, longtime reader, first time poster on this site. Have a dilemma and want some opinions. I am 25 years old and have been working for a Landscape Design/Install firm for about a year and have really fallen in love with the industry. So much so that I decided to make it a career. I recently was accepted into the Horticulture/Plant Science program at the Univ. of Kentucky. Someday I would like to own my own Design/Install firm and possibly have a small nursery where I can grow my own plants. Now I am worried that I may lose my job with my current employer because of my schedule. (I haven't spoken with my advisor yet, just assuming that I will be in class atleast 2 days a week.) I plan on talking to my boss as soon as I know my schedule so as to be able to give him correct information. My questions are:
1. If you were an owner, would you be okay with a foreman attending class a few days a week if it was directly related to his job?
2. Is a Hort degree something you would encourage?
Thanks, fellas. Enjoy reading your thoughts.


LawnSite Bronze Member
irwin pa
I cannot speak on behalf of the hort degree:

I do not have employees, however if I did this is how I would feel:

I feel as if I am a decent human being, as with all of us I am not perfect. With that being said if you were my employee I would be happy that you are trying to better yourself through a degree. (I am not saying a degree makes you succesful automatically but from my experience it doesnt hurt) I if I was your employer would try to work around your scheduale for instance, I would let you work nights or odd hours, as long as your honest and doing the work you should be doing and doing it 100% I wouldnt see a problem with you continuing working for me. Also with you attending school that is in direct relation with "my company" it would benefit me by you learning not only off of me but also from the school... Now not all bosses would be like that, some may be pissed you might eventually be competition, if thats the case your employeer is not worth your time and you can always find someone who will support your dream.... As for the hort degree, a customer of mine's, sister has a hort degree and I know for a fact she does very very well for herself. Not only does she make good money "owns her own business" but she has gotten to travel the world with her degree... She is also a very very nice lady!


LawnSite Bronze Member
St. Louis, MO
A lot of students need to work, and it is great when you can work in the same field that you are studying.

I studied horticulture while working for a landscape company part time. I got hired with the understanding that I would be attending school and that my schedule would accomidate that. It was not difficult to manage the schedule because many of my classes were available in the evening. It was difficult for me to spend the days doing labor, sometimes heavy labor all day and focus on classroom studies at night.

I think that your employer will be flexible and supportive, at least as much as is practical for him to be. If he does not work with you, then find an employer who will. If you are building a career in this industry, you will find that there is a large divide between the educated and the uneducated. When it comes to earning potential and job qualification, there is no question that education can take you a long way. So much that I think it is a higher priority than a current job.

As an employer, I would prefer a student/employee even if it meant working with the schedule. Many employees in this industry are not engaged or focused, while someone who is studying horticulture will have more focus.

Good luck!
Let us know how it works out.