When you graduate from college tightly gripping that horticulture degree, you want to celebrate with a great new job.
But what are the best opportunities in horticulture careers?
You’re in luck — there are plenty of them.
“There's a lack of people in the industry,” says James Kole, branch manager and an intern mentor at Level Green Landscaping. “We have a shortage of people qualified to do management jobs.”
He and Level Green operating manager Bill Hardy recently visited several college career fairs to recruit new hires.
“There's a great job market when you get out,” Kole says.
“As Level Green continues to grow, we need more and more people. It's really a good time to be in the landscaping business.”
Check out Kole’s top horticulture careers list.
1. Management Trainee
Level Green’s landscape management training program is a great job out of college. It prepares qualified candidates for a position as an operations manager or account manager.
Get paid while you learn the ropes of the landscape management business. Then, when you’re done, you’re ready to hit the ground running.
“You get great field experience and you get to know the guys on the crews,” Kole says. “You also learn management skills. Then, when you're done, you're trained and ready to go.”
This program is ideal for a recent college graduate or a person new to the landscape industry. Choose the operations manager track or the account manager track, then learn on the job what the position entails, from sales calls and customer relations to writing proposals for enhancements and supervising crews.
When your training is complete, we hope you’ll join us as a new operations or account manager.
“Those roles are where college students ultimately want to end up,” Kole says. “That's the fulfillment of what you went to school for.”
Crew supervisor is one of the best horticulture degree jobs, Kole says.
“As a supervisor, you’re in the field all the time, managing a crew,” Kole says. “It’s a great learning experience. When you're spending time in the field, you gain insight on how jobs are really produced.
“It's the track that I followed,” Kole says. “I thought I knew it all when I started. It turns out I did not.”
Every day taught him new skills, he says.
“It helped me learn estimating, and what it takes to really do a job,” Kole says. And, he adds, it’s a good track to a higher position in the company.
“From there I moved to account manager,” Kole says. “And now, five years after I started as a supervisor, I'm a branch manager.”
That time he spent out in the field as a supervisor gave him skills he used later as an account manager, Kole says, and that he continues to use today.
“If a client had a question, I could tell them exactly why the crew was doing things a certain way,” he says. “It also gave me more credibility with crews. They saw me covered in mulch and dirt, working right next to them. They saw me shoveling snow. I wasn’t just some guy fresh from college telling them what to do.”
3. Spray Technician
A college degree isn’t required for this position, but it’s an advantage to have one, Kole says.
Spray technicians are grounds maintenance specialists who apply pesticides and weed killers to keep out unwanted insects and plants. They need a knowledge of pesticides and appropriate safety procedures and skills in problem solving and math.
“You’ll be able to pass the certification test easily if you have a college degree,” Kole says. “And, if you have a college degree, you’ll know Excel, which means you can do your own scheduling.”
There’s room to move up in the company from this job, too, Kole says.
4. Branch Manager
A branch manager is responsible for the success of a landscape company branch, including planning, budgeting, personnel development, quality control, customer relations and business development.
“It's like owning your own company, without all the risk,” Kole says. “I use my accounting skills and all the business courses from college that I didn't think I'd need.”
As branch manager, Kole typically oversees about 50 employees, he says, and has the daily satisfaction of running an integral part of the company. It’s a great way to combine the skills he learned in college and the skills he accumulated along the way, Kole says.
Check Out An Internship At Level Green
Not sure what opportunities in horticulture careers best suit you? Check out one of our internships — you’ll learn about everything.
Interns rotate through several departments at the company, spending at least two weeks in each area, then returning to spend more time, if they like, in the area that interests them the most.
You’ll work in construction, in enhancements and landscape maintenance pulling weeds, installing plants, building retaining walls.
You’ll spend time with account managers checking on customers and writing proposals. You’ll hang out with a landscape designer and spend time with owners Doug Delano and Bill Hardy.
We’ll tailor your internship to meet your needs, from a few weeks during the summer to a year-long stay. You’ll work a full-time, 40-hour week, with pay.
Check Us Out — We’d Love To Meet You
If you’re looking to gain valuable experience in an exciting team environment that values your fresh ideas, consider a job at Level Green Landscaping.
“If you're passionate about landscaping and being outside,” Kole says, “this is your career.”
Ready to start the process? Start by filling out the form on this page.
We can't wait to meet you.