One of the emerging therapy professions, horticulture therapy involves coordinating, planning and conducting therapeutic gardening for diverse populations. Horticultural therapists are often a part of the recreational therapy department in hospitals, community or senior centers, rehabilitation centers, special education programs, correction or psychiatric facilities and nursing homes. Horticulture therapy is commonly used in conjunction with other therapies to help people with physical, emotional or developmental disabilities, and professionals in the field are often a part of interdisciplinary teams containing physicians, psychologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and recreational therapists. According to a survey done by Portland Community College, individuals working in horticulture therapy often work as contract employees and can expect to earn between $18 and $50 per hour with an annual salary range of $30,000 to $50,000 per year.
National Average Salary
An individual working in the field of horticulture therapy may work under a number of job titles including horticultural therapist, horticulture program specialist, community garden program coordinator and therapeutic garden specialist. The national average salary does vary by job title. The website SalaryExpert states the national average salary for an individual working as a horticultural therapist is $42,244. An individual working under the job title of community garden coordinator has a national average salary of $42,000, whereas a horticulture program specialist has a national average annual salary of $52,000, according to job website Indeed.
Salary by City
Salaries earned by people working in horticulture therapy vary by location. The website SalaryExpert indicates individuals working in horticultural therapy can expect to earn an annual salary in the $36,000 to $39,000 range in major metropolitan areas including Houston, Dallas and Atlanta. Horticulture therapy employees working in Chicago, Miami or Charlotte, North Carolina, can expect to earn an annual salary in the $42,000 to $44,000 range. The city offering the highest pay for horticultural therapists is Los Angeles, with an annual salary of $55,923.
Salary by Setting
Specific salaries by setting for horticulture therapy are not available. However, data are available for recreational therapy, the department to which horticulture therapy employees typically belong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports higher wages for recreational therapists working in general medical and surgical hospitals, state government, psychiatric and substance abuse hospitals. Nursing and community care facilities tend to offer a lower salary.
Salary by Education
Although salary information by education is not available, as with most professions, the more education an individual obtains, the better the salary. Individuals interested in working in horticulture therapy can pursue a certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in horticultural therapy. Special certification is not currently required in the field, but the American Horticultural Therapy Association also offers a voluntary professional registration program for horticultural therapists that achieve defined criteria for education and experience. Since individuals working in horticulture therapy work with a diverse population, a combination of coursework in agriculture, rehabilitation, behavioral sciences and psychology is also recommended.