Horticulture Program Offers 'Design Your Own Degree' Opportunities
Much like a landscaper adding a personal touch to a client's front lawn, the ornamental horticulture program at Pennsylvania College of Technology now includes flexible emphases that reflect a student's individuality and goals.
A recent curriculum revision to the landscape/nursery technology major in the School of Natural Resources Management has produced an associate degree in ornamental horticulture with separate emphases in landscape technology, plant production and horticulture retail management all representing the varied career paths within the industry.
As the only horticulture major in Pennsylvania accredited by the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), ornamental horticulture-landscape technology is the most structured of the three emphases. Its graduates can be employed in positions such as landscape designer, estate gardener, arborist/tree-care specialist and institutional or governmental horticulturist.
"Plant production and horticulture retail management are more flexible, and can be tailored to a student's particular career interest," said Mary A. Sullivan, assistant dean of natural resources management. "While the majors share academic and some technical core requirements, students can choose their electives based on those interests owning a garden center or floral-design business, or going into plant production, growing bedding plants or other seasonal crops."
Graduates in ornamental horticulture-plant production can be employed as plant-propagation technicians; greenhouse and nursery specialists, including production of trees, shrubs, tropical, annual and perennial plants; arborists/tree care professionals; and horticultural product marketing and merchandising agents.
Ornamental horticulture-horticulture retail management allows for employment as floral-shop and garden-center managers (both traditional and mass-market); horticultural-product marketing and merchandising agents; floral designers; and nursery or plant-care business owners.
Many of Penn College's associate degrees also provide the option for an additional two years' study toward a bachelor's degree in technology management. With its strong focus on business/management skills, the four-year degree is especially advantageous to students interested in undertaking their own horticulture-related operations.
The spacious Schneebeli Earth Science Center, about 12 miles south of the college's main campus in Williamsport, includes four greenhouses with 15,000 square feet of growing area and a five-acre plant arboretum. And, with the college's diesel and heavy-equipment majors housed on the same campus, students have access to a number of vehicles and tools to enhance their laboratory activities.