Landscape and horticulture technicians and specialists (NOC 2225)

Minimum education: Diploma, Certificate or Apprenticeship Training

  • Average salary
    22.5%
  • Occupation size
    65.0%
  • Job stability
    58.0%
  • Demand growth
    38.0%
  • Below Average
  • Excellent

Profile last updated: August 31, 2016

Please log in to save this profile. Continue to login page?

On this page

01 Overview

Landscape and horticultural technicians and specialists survey and assess landscapes; draw sketches and build models of landscape designs; construct and maintain gardens, parks, golf courses and other landscaped environments; advise clients on issues related to horticulture; breed, cultivate and study plants and treat injured and diseased trees and plants.

People in this occupation:

  • are employed by landscape designers and contractors, lawn service and tree care establishments, golf courses, nurseries and greenhouses and municipal, provincial and national parks, and may also be self-employed
  • must have a comprehensive knowledge of the qualities and care needs for ornamental and food plants, trees and shrubs
  • must be physically fit and able to bend and lift heavy objects
  • should have an artistic sense and have the ability to visualise completed landscaped environments

02 Earnings

Provincial median salary

$41,191

Source: Estimated median employment income based on 2015 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • $15.00/hr
    Low
  • $19.75/hr
    Median
  • $31.54/hr
    High

03 Duties

Arborists and tree service technicians

Arborists and tree service technicians examine trees and shrubs to diagnose problems and disease, and apply various treatments such as pruning, spraying, repairing damaged areas and injecting with treatment solutions.

Golf course superintendents

Golf course superintendents direct crews who maintain the health and appearance of golf courses and their surrounding landscapes, plant and move trees, and apply fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides.

Horticulturists

Horticulturists plan and co-ordinate the growth and use of plants for landscaping, ornamental uses and other purposes.

Landscape designers

Landscape designers and landscape architectural technicians and technologists survey and assess sites, prepare drawings, sketches and reports and perform other duties to assist landscape architects in designing landscaped environments.

Landscape gardeners

Landscape gardeners plant and maintain private and public lawns and gardens.

Landscapers

Landscapers plan and construct landscaped environments which may include trees, shrubberies, lawns, fences, decks, patios and other landscape structures.

Lawn care specialists

Lawn care specialists visit clients, assess the health of lawns, and apply fertilizer, pesticides and other lawn care products.

04 Work environment

Landscape and horticultural technicians and specialists generally have standard hours, however, extended work hours are common during peak seasons and there may be periods of seasonal unemployment. They typically work outside where they may be exposed to extreme weather conditions, though for landscape designers, some work is done indoors.

The work is often dirty and can involve the use of dangerous equipment, such as chain saws and chippers, and toxic chemicals, such as fertilizers and pesticides. Arborists are required to work at heights from ladders, from boom trucks or by climbing trees. Workers follow safety precautions to limit risk of injury.

05 Workforce and employment statistics

Workforce characteristics

3,400 workers are employed
39 % of workers are working mostly full time

Employment by gender

Labour force by age group

Source: 2011 National Household Survey

06 Job requirements

Education, training and qualifications

Completion of a university or college program in agronomy, arboriculture, horticulture, landscaping, landscape design or landscape technology is usually required. However, some workers may learn through on-the-job training.

Work experience as a landscape and grounds maintenance labourer may be required for employment as a golf course superintendent, landscape gardener or landscaper.

In B.C., the Industry Training Authority (ITA) offers apprenticeship programs leading to trade certification for landscape horticulturists and production horticulturists. An apprenticeship program for arboriculturists is currently under review. These apprenticeships last approximately four years and can be started in secondary school, through entry-level training at colleges and technical institutes, or by direct entry to the workforce. All apprenticeships require workers to find a sponsor employer who is willing to participate in the program. For more information, see the ITA website at: www.itabc.ca.

Professional certification is available for qualified horticultural technicians, landscape professionals and landscape designers through the British Columbia Landscape and Nursery Association (BCLNA). Although certification is not required, it will typically increase employment opportunities. To become certified, individuals must complete several years of work experience or a combination of work experience and a recognized post-secondary horticultural program, and must pass a series of written and practical examinations. BCLNA certification is transferable between provinces. For more information, see the BCLNA website at www.bclna.com.

Professional certification is also available for landscape and horticultural technologists and technicians through the Applied Science Technologists and Technicians of British Columbia (ASTTBC). Completion of a diploma program and two years of work experience are required for Applied Science Technologist (AScT) designation and completion of a certificate program and two years of work experience are required for Certificate Technician (CTech) designation. For more information, see the ASTTBC website at www.asttbc.com.

Certification for arborists is available through the International Society of Arboriculture, Pacific Northwest Chapter (PNW-ISA). To become certified, arborists must complete three years of industry work experience, or two years plus a college degree in arboriculture, and pass an examination. For more information, see the PNW-ISA site at www.pnwisa.org.

A provincial licence to apply chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and pesticides may be required.

Workers already licensed or certified in another province or territory in a provincially regulated occupation will have their credentials recognized in B.C. For more detailed information, contact the provincial regulator.  A list of provincial regulators can be found at: www.tilma.ca/pdf/BCRegulatoryAuthorities.pdf.

For program information on public post-secondary education in B.C., please see the Education Planner website at: www.educationplanner.ca.

07 Subject Areas & Training Resources

Education Planner

www.educationplanner.ca

Trades/Apprenticeship Resources

Industry Training Authority

www.itabc.ca

Trades Training BC

www.tradestrainingbc.ca

ACE-IT

www.itabc.ca/youth/programs#ace-it

Discover Skills BC

www.discoverskillsbc.ca

08 Career paths

With experience, landscape and horticultural technologists and technicians can advance to supervisory positions or start their own business.

09Employment outlook

N/A - Data not available or not provided due to data quality issues

Provincial Outlook:

Unemployment rate

  • 5.1%
    2015
  • 5.2%
    2020
  • 4.3%
    2025

Job openings

  • 230
    2015
  • 120
    2020
  • 120
    2025

10 Insights from industry

As employment in this occupation tends to be seasonal, workers will experience months of strong employment growth.

Opporutnities will result from the need to replace workers who retire. There will also be openings that arise from turnover as workers leave the occupation due to the physical nature of the work and/or the relatively lower earnings.

The demand for landscape and horticultural technicians and specialists is connected to construction activity, population growth, and the overall health of the provincial economy. Growth in housing construction and renovation, parks development, and gardening and golfing activity have increased the demand for workers in this occupation, especially those involved in landscape design, landscaping and garden maintenance and greenskeeping services.

11 In their own words

My Career Path

1.  How did you get started in this job?

I've always liked plants and gardening. I liked learning about them and when it came time to go to school, I thought, why not study horticulture? It was a pretty good experience and I did learn a lot, which helped guide my own learning through experience.

2.  If you knew then what you know now about the job, would you have done anything differently?

Well, I might have tried different, more rigorous training to really get in the know in some areas that have taken me a while to feel my way around. I guess I'd have earned more money that way, but I have had a pretty low-key work experience, working for myself as I have.

3.  What would you say to someone starting out in this career today?

Learn what you enjoy. That's key. There's lots of competition in general horticulture so don't worry about that. Learn what interests you and I think you'll probably find your niche. It’s peaceful work that can offer a good space to do your thinking. Might want to find a different field if you're interested in fast-paced environment!

4.  Where do you see yourself going with this job in the future?

I think in the future I'll probably do what I advised earlier. Go back to school and explore a few niches that might let me work in other parts of the world. I'm not into working for someone or doing large-scale horticulture. With the right knowledge, I won't have to.

5.  What are some of the main forces of change in the industry right now? How will those affect you?

Well, I guess on one level people are becoming less interested in nature, so gardens and food seem to mean less. On the other hand, and I don't know if there's a balance here or not, others are becoming quite knowledgeable and exacting about what they want. The best is when my customers and I learn new things together. Again, I think developing some niche knowledge on the fringes of commercial horticulture is the way to thrive here.

A typical workday

8:00 am Fulford Harbour, B.C.. I put this here to let you think I start work at 8:00 am, but I often don't. I like having a lot of flexibility in my hours and this varies from season to season. For instance, today I'll start at 11:00.
11:00 am When I work, I really like to put in a full effort for the time I bill. I may not need to but it keeps up my reputation and gives me the satisfaction I need from my work. My first job today is fitting a micro-drip irrigation system to a customer's terraced vegetable garden. This is pretty straightforward, but explaining to the customer how to operate the system is not!
1:00 pm Next is my job with a retired couple who really just needs lawn and hedge care. I like them and like talking with them so I enjoy the work even though it’s pretty basic. Hey, pushing the mower keeps me fit.
3:00 pm My next job of the day, and the last I've scheduled for the day, is transplanting and rooting orchids for an amateur horticulturist. He knows much more about orchids than I do, but he insists he needs skilled help. I'm happy to oblige as I'm learning lots about these fascinating plants.

 

12 Additional resources