Some people have a talent for carpentry, mechanics, or art, just as some have a knack for growing plants. A person with a green thumb is skilled at gardening or caring for plants. People like this have a unique talent for making almost any plant thrive!
Students with green thumbs frequently pursue plant studies at the collegiate level and major in various studies and degrees. Individual colleges provide additional or specialized courses of study concerning each subject. The study of plants ranges from a broad investigation of plant use to an in-depth study of plants on a molecular level, so choosing a specific program is dependent on many factors, such as your interest and purpose.
College degrees in plant science involve studying the physical processes of plants and how they thrive in the environment as both functional food crops and decorative flora. Knowing the key features of each degree program can assist you in deciding which is best for you.
When you dig into your work in many cases for the job options available, you dig into your work—but there are also careers within the industry that don’t involve physical labor, such as landscape design.
Will the institution you attend matter?
As the for individuals who hold plant-related college degrees rise, the agricultural school where you invest your time and money for education and training is important! Some schools allow students to tailor their programs to a specific area of interest, allowing graduates to pursue their goals broadly or more specifically.
10 College Degrees For People with Green Thumbs
Ohio State University – Agricultural Technical Institute
The Agricultural Technical Institute at Ohio State University is a highly regarded public university in Wooster, Ohio, with a 100% acceptance rate. While Ohio State-ATI offers a variety of plant science degrees, Horticultural Science is the university’s most successful major.
Horticultural science is the only plant science that considers both the science and the aesthetics of plants. It is the science and art of growing, improving, and commercializing edible fruits, flowers, herbs, and ornamental plants.
The Department of Horticulture and Crop Science allows students to participate in a study abroad program in England and an internship that will help them connect with people worldwide. The England trip focuses on on-site visits to various gardening and plant locations to develop an appreciation for the design elements, historical influences, and horticultural and turf management practices that make specific places effective and memorable.
University of Massachusetts – Amherst
UMass is a well-regarded public university with a somewhat competitive admissions process. Through the College of Natural Science, UMass Amherst offers a Plant and Soil Science degree that allows students with green thumbs to focus on environmental qualities and relationships of air, soil, water, and plants and environmental benefits, proper benefits management practices, and sustainability. This program also includes intensive training in sciences such as biology and laboratory methods.
Students specialize in one of two areas:
- plant science
- or general applied biology.
They can also concentrate their advanced studies in:
plant science and biotechnology,
- plant pathology,
- horticultural sciences,
- conservation biology,
- soil science,
- or a related field.
Students will use a sustainability framework to tackle real-world problems, integrate knowledge from various disciplines, and apply professional, hands-on training.
Clemson University offers a degree that combines environmental and plant science topics. Students pursuing Bachelor of Science in Plant and Environmental Sciences become prepared for graduate school or careers in agriculture and related fields. They gain experience outside the classroom, whether in the lab, greenhouses, or the field. Our students are more competitive for graduate programs and jobs because of these applied skills.
The BS in Plant and Environment Sciences coursework is a multidisciplinary science-based degree with high academic expectations easily adaptable to student interests and needs. Students can also choose a more specialized study area from their three concentrations in:
- agricultural biotechnology,
- and soil and water science.
University of Florida
People with green thumbs must pay attention to the plant’s growth and surroundings. The University of Florida’s Entomology And Nematology Department offers a degree in Entomology. This degree enables students to contribute to the betterment of humanity by detecting the role of insects in disease transmission and discovering ways to protect food, fiber crops, and livestock from damage. They investigate how beneficial insects contribute to the health of humans, animals, and plants.
Members of the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department conduct cutting-edge research in various fields. Their research labs in Gainesville, Florida, and at UF/IFAS Research and Education Centers throughout the state generate new knowledge to answer fundamental scientific questions and solve real-world challenges.
Furthermore, research is not limited to Florida. Researchers and students collaborate with other institutions and organizations worldwide to find solutions to global entomological and nematological problems.
Oregon State University
Oregon State University’s College of Forestry offers diverse study options. Oregon State’s location and environment, with its 15,000 acres of research forest and extensive facilities, complement undergraduate and graduate concentrations and majors, including research, commercial, and public service roles.
The university’s forestry degrees provide students and faculty with the conditions and tools to solve environmental problems, develop sustainable land management practices, and nurture the wood resources society requires for products and buildings.
The Forest Science Center, the Wood Products Laboratory, the Tallwood Design Institute, classrooms, and laboratory space are all housed in the Oregon Forest Science Complex. Here, labs allow wood manufacturing, three-story structure testing, and an Arboretum for active learning and research.
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
SUNY College ESF offers a Bachelor of Science in Bioprocess Engineering degree to help solve America’s energy problems while preparing students for an exciting and rewarding career. Students in this program study subjects typically found in a chemical engineering program and advanced courses specific to bioprocess engineering. The program focuses on the sustainable use of renewable biomass to replace petroleum in:
- and industrial products.
Through faculty-guided internships and cooperative education (co-op) assignments, students in the BS in Bioprocess Engineering program benefit from hands-on learning in the bioprocess and allied industries.
Texas A & M University
TAMU’s Department of Soil and Crop Science is chaired by Seth Murray, Ph.D., a corn breeder with Texas A&M Eugene Butler AgriLife Research and one of the finalists for the prestigious Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists. Students in the department can major in:
- food science and technology,
- molecular and environmental plant sciences,
- plant breeding,
- soil science,
- water management,
- and hydrological science.
Undergraduates must complete an internship, undergraduate research, or study abroad.
Soil and Crop Sciences provides students with a wide range of experiential learning opportunities to help them meet their graduation requirements. Students can fulfill their experiential learning requirements on a regional, national, or international level. Academic advisors and professors can provide students with information about undergraduate research and internship opportunities.
- experiential learning,
- extension programs,
- and global outreach.
The college organizes a variety of clubs and annual social and professional development events and fairs to foster a collegial and collaborative environment.
The college also offers a degree in Forestry and Forestry Engineering, a joint degree through the Engineering program. Furthermore, forestry students spend their summers away from campus at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center, where they gain practical training and experience in preparation for the two-year capstone project that all Forestry majors must complete before graduation.
Colorado State University
Colorado State University offers a Horticulture major that provides students with a solid foundation in basic natural sciences and agricultural sciences, preparing them for technical and scientific careers in laboratory, greenhouse, or field research. For transfer students, this major is also available online. The three options are:
- Horticultural Business Management Concentration,
- Horticultural Food Crops Concentration,
- and Horticultural Science Concentration.
Graduate students research to learn more about plant growth, development, and environmental response. This research could result in new plant varieties and manufacturing methods. Exceptional students work on individual research projects that professors oversee. Graduates in this field frequently go on to further their education.
Stanford, a private research university near the Silicon Valley tech and start-up scene, is a top-tier university for any field, especially engineering. Stanford’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department provides undergraduates with a comprehensive program that prepares them for a professional career. The program places a strong emphasis on sustainability and protecting human life’s necessities.
Students with green thumbs would be ideal candidates for the environmental systems engineering degree. The Environmental Systems Engineering major is intended to prepare students to integrate environmentally sustainable design, strategies, and practices into natural and built systems. It focuses on preparing engineers for the challenges of the twenty-first century that we will face in and around our cities due to global climate change and population growth.
What People with Green Thumbs Need to Know?
Some people naturally have the keen interest and exceptional capacity to nurture plants. People with green thumbs, they say, can make plants grow well in any climate. Obtaining formal education education and training from top-rated colleges can translate such skills to well-paying and fulfilling careers.
Plant lovers have to top up their skills and interest with research in higher education to gain a better understanding of the discipline. Only with such knowledge can a plant flourish despite the predictable and unpredictable elements, such as plant pathogens.
Here is a look at the responsibilities and roles of some jobs related to plants to help you understand how specific degrees prepare you for careers in the field.
Horticulturists cultivate, grow, and propagate plants using their scientific knowledge. Horticulture jobs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Many horticulturists work in agriculture to improve the hardiness and yields of crops that produce fruits and vegetables. They are also looking for ways to If you care about plants, you care about the soil in which they grow.
Botanists are scientists studying various aspects of plants, such as how they grow and interact with the environment they live. Some botanists study how to use plants to create fuel or medicine, while others study how to use native plants to improve communities or ecosystems or use plants to help decontaminate land or the overall environment.
Conservation scientists work to protect the land on which plants grow and other natural resources. They are concerned with preventing the destruction of the earth’s natural resources due to artificial practices. Conservation biologists are frequently involved in forestry management and sustainable agriculture.
Professional agriculture educators teach agricultural education programs in some secondary schools and community colleges. Secondary school teachers must hold state-specific teacher certification and a degree in agriculture education or a closely related field. Community college instructors are not required to be certified, but they may require an advanced degree and hands-on experience.
Consider a career as a park ranger if you want to work in conservation but prefer to spend time outside rather than in a lab. Enforcing park regulations, maintaining park resources, and educating the public about the park’s flora and fauna are all part of the job. The majority of park rangers work in state or federal parks.
Naturopathic doctors are interested in the medicinal uses of plants and work in a healthcare setting to diagnose, prevent, and treat illness to restore and maintain optimal health by assisting the body’s natural self-healing process. This necessitates a four-year intensive graduate program at a naturopathic medical school that provides scientific education comparable to that of traditional medical school and training in botanical and homeopathic medicine and the role of nutrition in wellness.
Careers in the plant industry that don’t involve physical labor
Plant-related work do not always require physical labor. The purpose of some jobs is to beautify outdoor areas. Some of these jobs require a degree and involve design work, whereas others require you to work directly in the dirt with your hands and tools.
Landscapers trim grass and hedges and install and maintain plants in the yards of residential and commercial clients. They sometimes carry out plans created by landscape designers, but they simply plant plants as requested by the property owners for whom they provide services. Some landscapers work for themselves, but the majority work for landscaping companies.
Landscape architects are degreed and licensed designers of outdoor spaces. They spend most of their time indoors deciding where and how plants should be placed in different places.
Landscape designers also collaborate with clients to create visually appealing environments through plants. Landscape designers are more likely to work with individual residential clients than large-scale projects that require the expertise of a landscape architect.
Grounds Maintenance Workers
Grounds maintenance workers, also known as groundskeepers, are in charge of the upkeep of outdoor areas such as parks, golf courses, sports facilities, municipal buildings, and office complexes. Others work in commercial settings, such as apartment complexes, condominiums, and shopping malls, where they are responsible for the upkeep of the grounds.
Degrees for People with Green Thumbs
Generally speaking, the college degrees suitable for people with green thumbs are:
- Bioprocessing Engineering
- Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Plant and Soil Science
- Horticultural Science
- Environmental Engineering
Forestry is an essential service for improving, managing, and conserving forests. Natural disasters, land-use conversion and development, and catastrophic wildfire threaten forested landscapes. A degree in forestry entails learning about soil health, hydrology, ecosystem management, agriculture, wildlife conservation, and the timber supply chain.
Although it is not as well-known as some other science-based fields, such as plant sciences, environmental engineering, or horticulture, an undergraduate degree in forestry is not only an intellectually challenging pursuit, but it also provides a variety of career paths and specializations. Whether you want to be a forester (in charge of conservation, rehabilitation, and land management) or a forest and conservation technician (in charge of conservation and forest propagation, such as planting trees or fighting forest fires), the possibilities are endless.
A bioprocess is any process that employs living cells to produce a product, whereas engineering is the science of designing and constructing complex machines or processes. Bioprocess engineering is the planning, design, implementation, and revision of the biological and mechanical processes required to create new products in the life sciences.
Engineering of this type can be extensive, but given the complexity of the intersecting scientific fields, people with green thumbs would undoubtedly thrive in this study. Bioprocess engineers require advanced knowledge and understanding of systems engineering, chemistry, biology, and government regulations.
These components work together to assist bioprocess engineers in everything from discovering new drugs based on chemical combinations and deconstruction to developing the multi-step process of manufacturing a new medicine or other biological product.
Plant interactions with herbivores and pathogens are among the most common ecological relationships, and they share many characteristics. It’s upsetting as a plant lover to see your plants die due to them. The study of insects and their behavior around other organisms, the environment, and humans is known as entomology. This degree significantly contributes to various disciplines, including agriculture, chemistry, biology, human/animal health, molecular science, criminology, and forensics. Insect research serves as the foundation for advances in biological and chemical pest control, food and fiber production and storage, pharmaceutical epidemiology, biological diversity, and other scientific fields.
Entomology dates back to 384-322 BC. There are even earlier references to insects in daily life, such as the cultivation of silkworms in China, which began in 4700 BC and was an essential part of peasant life in China as early as 4000 BC. Entomologists founded the Entomological Society of America (ESA) more than a century ago to promote the science and study of entomology in the United States.
Plant and Environmental Sciences
As our world changes, the science of protecting the environment and developing new agricultural practices must also evolve. Plant biology, soil science, ecology, applied genetics, and biotechnology are all covered in a major in plant and environmental sciences. Graduates play an essential role in introducing sustainable practices and modern technologies to agricultural and ecological practices.
Plant and Soil Science
A degree in Plant and Soil Science prepares students for careers in agronomic crops, soils, horticulture, entomology, and other related fields. It allows students to turn their passion for plants and the environment into a profitable career. This degree program focuses on the environmental qualities and relationships of air, soil, water, and plants and the ecological benefits, proper management practices, and sustainability. Students will look into improving crop response to environmental conditions, increasing crop resource efficiency, reducing water use, evaluating crop productivity and efficiency, and conserving soil and water for future generations.
Horticulture involves producing, growing, marketing, and using high-value, intensively cultivated food and ornamental plants.
Horticultural crops come in a variety of varieties, including:
- There are annual and perennial species.
- Fresh fruits and vegetables,
- Indoor plants that are decorative and
- Plants for the landscape.
Horticulture also improves the quality of life by enhancing the beauty, sustainability, and rehabilitation of our environment and the human condition.
Plants, crops, and green spaces enrich and sustain our lives by beautifying our homes and communities, providing nutritious food, and lowering our carbon footprint.
Green thumbs understand how dangerous some plants can be, so some pursue this degree. Environmental engineering students evaluate the performance of an engineering system and incorporate innovations or develop new technologies to improve environmental protection. Students studying environmental engineering will learn how to collect, construct, and evaluate environmental impact data and use logic and reasoning to identify the weaknesses and strengths of alternative solutions.
5 Skills a Plant Worker Should Possess
Plant workers specialize in field crops, protected growing (under glass), soft and top fruit, hardy nursery stock, or cut flowers. Others pursue careers as researchers or scientists. But, no matter what job you choose, you should have these five essential skills to thrive in a career that involves working with plants.
Skill #1 Excellent Communication Skills
You won’t only be working plants on this job line but with people too, so it is crucial to communicate effectively in both oral and written formats. You may be required to listen to a customer or employer and explain an answer to a question or propose a solution to a problem. They would have to do so without using technical or scientific jargon or terminology that the average customer would not understand. You should be able to explain the differences between the two plants and provide care instructions.
Skill #2 Mathematics and Science Skills
Plant workers should be proficient in math and science. You must be able to compute growth rates and identify plants, plant pests, and ideal plant growth conditions. Some people may work on the development of new plant varieties. As a result, you should be able to understand minute differences and work with plants in a hands-on manner.
Skill #3 Analytical Skills
Most workers will work with plant-related data. You may also be required to work with data on weather, soil conditions, moisture levels, pests, and other relevant details affecting plants. Most of this work would be done with computer software, so you must be comfortable with technology. You must be willing to be updated with software changes and new tools and technology in your field of expertise.
Skill #4 Critical Thinking
Since you’ll be working with plants, you must be able to think critically. When faced with a problem, you must be aware of the best options for resolving it. When the standard solutions fail, you may need to use your ingenuity to develop a new solution. You must be able to document your decision-making process and keep detailed records of what they do and when they do it. During the research, you must keep meticulous notes so that another plant scientist can replicate your study or verify your methodology before the results are published.
Skill #5 Observational Skills
The Bureau of Labor Statistics underscores observational skills as a success factor in jobs that involve plants. It makes sense since you will examine a plant to determine its species and variety. A horticulturist, for example, may need to recommend a type of rose that will thrive in heavy clay soil under a moderate climate and near dwellings and large trees. You should be able to detect subtle changes in a plant’s health.
Benefits of a career involving plants
Follow your passion
Working around plants can be beneficial if you have a passion for it. Following your passion will also reduce work-related fatigue, thereby benefiting your health and well-being in the long run.
Contribute to environmental protection
Most of the jobs involve plant conservation and growth, and they frequently play a role in environmental protection. Farmers, ecologists, and agronomists, for example, are concerned about sustainable plant production. Others, such as arborists and horticulturists, can contribute to better research and understanding of plant diseases and pests. Plant photographers and videographers, for example, can use their content to raise awareness about environmental issues. This may entice interested individuals or government agencies to get involved.
Earn a living
Consider plant jobs if you want to make a good living. Regardless of where you live, a career in horticulture, ecology, or agronomy can provide you with adequate compensation. Skill-based plant jobs, such as photography and videography, can also be very profitable, depending on your personal branding and marketing abilities. Similarly, farmers receive special tax breaks from the government, which can help them improve their living conditions.
The majority of plant jobs necessitate constant movement and physical activity. Farmers, for example, frequently move around their farms, lift heavy objects, and engage in strenuous activities. Plant-related academic roles, such as ecologists, horticulturists, and arborists, entail spending long hours in the field collecting samples or inspecting plants. This level of activity can improve your overall fitness and stamina. It can also assist you in avoiding work-related health risks such as poor posture from sitting at a desk for too long.
Plant jobs necessitate frequent trips outside. Some plant roles require primarily outdoor work, while others may require trips to remote locations to collect specific plant samples. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, this is an added benefit. Aside from the health benefits of fresh air and sunlight, this can also be a source of adventure. Going outside for your duties reduces the likelihood of monotony or boredom. It can boost your morale and lead to greater productivity at work.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Can I Become a Plant Worker?
When pursuing a career in agriculture, choosing the right major is always an important step. Most plant workers hold a bachelor’s degree, while others are associate degree or high school diploma holders. Previous work experience in sales and warehouse jobs is common among them.
Do I Have to Live in a Rural Area to Work with Plants?
Many jobs are available in both the metropolitan and regional areas or rural areas. Educational providers are also located in urban areas, and many offer online services, removing the need for students to attend classes at a specific location.
What are the Future Trends for Jobs in Agriculture?
Future agricultural industry trends include
- increased use of technology
- a greater need for highly trained and skilled personnel
- advisory positions increase
Agricultural productivity growth and output are expected to accelerate as the world’s population approaches 9 billion by 2050. Agricultural graduates will also face challenges and opportunities in adapting to climate change, managing the environment, operating profitable markets, managing future energy sources, and preserving biodiversity.
What are the Highest-Paying Jobs for People with Green Thumbs?
- Agricultural Operations Manager
- Animal Geneticist
- Agricultural Engineer
- Food Scientist
- Bioinformatics Scientist
- Agronomy Sales Manager
- Environmental Engineer
- Agricultural Economist
- Agricultural Lawyer
- Landscape Architect
- Gardener/Lawn Caretaker
- Outreach Coordinator
Can Everyone Have a Green Thumb?
Just because you weren’t born with a green thumb doesn’t mean you can’t learn the skill! However, it will take more than just getting your hands dirty. Obtaining a degree from a leading college will expose you to the research and experience for the job.
The best college degrees for people with green thumbs are:
- Bioprocess Engineering
- Plant and Environmental Sciences
- Plant and Soil Sciences
- Horticultural Science
- Environmental Engineering
Working with plants or crops can be creative as well as scientific. Green thumbs can specialize in conservation and research to focus their efforts on environmental issues. Others prefer careers that require design and planning skills, such as those focusing on creating landscapes or arranging floral collections to promote and maintain beauty and functionality.