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NC State Extension


Horticulture therapy volunteers in the garden on a rainy day

Horticultural Therapists*

Horticultural therapists are specially educated and trained professionals who involve the client in any phase of gardening – from propagation to selling products – as a means of bringing about improvement in their life. As members of treatment or care teams, horticultural therapists determine individual goals and work plans to help clients improve skills and maximize abilities.

Licensing and certification are not currently required to be a horticultural therapist. However, the American Horticultural Therapy Association offers voluntary professional registration for horticultural therapists that meet specific education and experience criteria.

Training & Education
Many universities, colleges, and community colleges offer classes and certificates in horticultural therapy and some offer degree programs. The American Horticulture Therapy Association (AHTA) has a core curriculum that it requires of all AHTA-accredited certificate programs that includes the following course types:
Horticultural Therapy Specialization

  • Horticultural therapy techniques and special needs populations
  • Horticultural therapy programming (assessment, goal planning,
  • Activity planning, task analysis)
  • Program funding
  • Research
  • Grant writing

Horticulture Sciences

  • Plant propagation
  • Greenhouse or nursery production/management
  • Botany, soil science, entomology, IPM, plant pathology/physiology
  • Landscape design
  • Floral design

Therapy/Human Sciences

  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Group dynamics
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Special education
  • Recreation/therapeutic skills and services
  • Anatomy/physiology
  • Sign language, CPR, crisis intervention

*  Information above taken from the American Horticultural Therapy Association Definitions and Positions

Schedule for Southeastern Classes offered by the Horticulture Therapy Institute