Horticultural Therapist Jobs
Next time you visit a garden or plant a seed, think about how you feel. Does it make you relax? Do you feel happy?
How does the growing process affect you? Most likely it’s a positive experience. One career harnesses this feeling into a holistic, natural method of healing. It’s a special type of therapy called horticultural therapy.
Horticultural therapists create gardens and teach gardening techniques to aid in rehabilitation. This type of therapy has been proven to have both psychological and physical benefits. Horticultural therapists evaluate their client’s disability and rehabilitate that disability by working in the outdoors in a beautiful garden.
Bringing people to gardens and the outdoors has been seen as beneficial since ancient Egypt. It proved to help troops on their return home from the First World War. Horticultural therapy became mainstream in the 1970’s when Kansas State started the first university program. Now it is worldwide with over 1,000 programs in the United States.
Over 24,000 people take part in horticultural therapy in the United States. The majority of people participating reside in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and prisons. These people may suffer from physical ailments, mental illnesses, or social problems. The elderly, children from disadvantaged homes, inmates, at-risk youth, terminally ill patients, disabled, stroke victims, people recuperating from surgery, and many other people take advantage of horticultural therapy.
When people learn how to garden, it gives them a release from their problems and helps them to relax. Giving someone the power to take a tiny seed and watch it blossom into a beautiful flower is truly rewarding. Not only does gardening produce some of the most beautiful things in nature, it is also therapeutic.
Horticultural therapists guide people through the gardening process from seed to bloom. They are also counselors who help with psychological problems and therapists who help improve physical ailments. The benefits of horticultural therapy include improving problem-solving skills, growing an appreciation for the beauty of life, enjoying the outdoors, overcoming depression, and enhancing motor skills.
As a horticultural therapist, you will work with a variety of patients. Where you work, will dictate what type of patient you will have. If you are at a nursing home, plan to work on finger dexterity with the elderly. If you work at a hospital, you’ll spend your time helping patients recuperate from surgeries. If you choose to go to a prison, which is more dangerous, you will focus on psychological issues. If you find you work with victims of abuse, you will help people reconnect with both nature and reality.
Every horticultural therapist must analyze her client’s problems. She must pick specific tasks that will help them. Rehabilitation is challenging and takes time. By participating in a constructive outlet, like gardening, it is easier for patients to open up and confront their issues.
Horticultural therapists must wear a variety of hats – gardener, therapist, counselor, friend. They do it all with a smile on their face. Gardening is a great source of holistic natural healing that usually avoids the use of medicine and drugs; however, most horticultural therapists work with a medical team to achieve the best results.
There are many programs that offer training in horticultural therapy. The most prestigious way to learn about this unique form of healing is to attend a university and earn a degree in horticultural therapy. There is also a voluntary certification program through the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). This certification, called the Horticultural Therapist Registered (HTR) is well respected throughout the industry.
A certified horticultural therapist is a valuable asset to any patient in need of help. With certification, they can make $35,000 to $57,000 per year, most average $45,000 per year. The true reward is the help you give to people through your passion for gardening.
If you want to help people improve their quality of life and you love to garden, a horticultural therapy job is a great option. It’s an exciting way to heal people and it’s proven to work wonders.
Quick Facts About Horticultural Therapy Work
Job Title: Horticultural Therapist
Description: Teach gardening to aid in mental and physical rehabilitation
Employers: Prisons, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Mental Facilities
Pay: $35,000 to $57,000 per year
American Horticultural Therapy