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New York Health Careers

Horticultural Therapists

What Do Horticultural Therapists Do?

Horticultural therapy (HT) integrates therapy with gardening for the purpose of physical and mental rehabilitation. Horticultural therapists work with a wide variety of patient diagnoses, such as physical or emotional trauma, and people with mental illness, and with many different populations, from children to teenagers and adults to the elderly. Horticultural therapists evaluate the physical and mental disabilities of patients and tailor programs to promote physical therapy, education, rehabilitation, and relaxation. Professional horticultural therapists also work closely with doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and occupational therapists in designing individual care plans.

HT is a beneficial and effective therapeutic modality, used within a broad range of rehabilitative, vocational, and community settings. Horticultural therapists assist participants to learn new skills or regain those that have been lost. HT helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization. In physical rehabilitation, a horticultural therapist can help a participant strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, and endurance. In vocational settings, horticultural therapists can help people learn to work independently, problem solve, and follow directions.

Where Do Horticultural Therapists Work?

Horticultural therapists work in gardens; vocational, occupational, and rehabilitation programs; hospitals; clinics and skilled nursing facilities; hospice and palliative care programs; correctional facilities; public and private schools; and assisted living and senior centers.

What Do Horticultural Therapists Earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not yet publish employment and earnings data for horticulture therapists. According to salary.com, in 2020 the average salary for horticulture therapists in the United States is $65,363. The average salary for horticulture therapist working in New York State is slightly higher at $70,134.

Supply and Demand

There are no projections available at the national level or for New York for horticultural therapists.

New York Educational Requirements

Horticultural therapists typically hold a bachelors degree in horticulture or related field to enter into horticultural therapy. Most educational programs in the Northeast are certificate programs. The curriculum for horticultural therapists often includes courses in health and abnormal psychology, plant pathology, and crop management, as well as social and behavioral sciences.

New York Certification/Licensure Requirements

New York does not require horticultural therapists to be licensed or certified. The American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) does register horticultural therapists on a voluntary basis. To become registered by the AHTA, an individual must have a bachelor’s degree in horticultural therapy; or a bachelor’s degree in another field plus required coursework in human science field, horticulture field, and horticultural therapy as outlined by the AHTA; and 480 hours of supervised internship. For specific information on registration requirements, go the www.ahta.org.

Education Programs in the Northeast U.S. (subject to change)

Rutgers University
School of Environmental & Biological Sciences
59 Dudley Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520
(201) 336-6780
New York Botanical Garden
Adult Education Department
The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Blvd.
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
(800) 322-NYBG (6924)
Delaware Valley College
Dept. of Natural Resources & Biosystems Management
700 E. Butler Ave.
Doylestown, PA 18901
(215) 489-2933
Temple University
Dept. of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture
580 Meetinghouse Road
Ambler, PA 19002
(267) 468-8181

Additional Web Links

For more information on Horticultural Therapy, go to:

American Horticultural Therapy Association: www.ahta.org

Horticultural Therapy Institute: http://www.htinstitute.org.

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