£17,000 Starter - £30,000 Experienced
37 to 39 variable (evenings / weekends managing your own hours)
Where to start
You may be able to get into this job through:
a university coursean apprenticeshipspecialist courses run by private training organisations
You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree course in horticulture, although this isn't always essential.
Some universities offer horticulture courses that include modules on social and therapeutic horticulture.
You could do a degree in a relevant subject and take further training in social and therapeutic horticulture. Relevant degree subjects include:
- occupational therapy
- social work
- mental health or learning disability nursing
You'll usually need 1 or 2 A-Levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma. You'll need 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree. You'll need a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study.
You may be able to work towards this role through a Level 2 horticulture operative, a higher horticultural supervisor or an occupational therapy degree apprenticeship.
With experience you could then take further specialist training courses in social and therapeutic horticulture.
It can be really useful to get experience of working on a horticulture project, on a paid or voluntary basis. You'll get a better understanding of the role, and make contacts who could help when looking for work.
You can attend short courses run by Thrive, a national charity who offer Step into Social and Therapeutic Horticulture workshops. You may have an advantage if you are moving into this career from other areas of horticulture or jobs such as social care, occupational therapy, nursing or teaching.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Chartered Institute of Horticulture for access to industry newsletters, events and support.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of psychology
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- excellent verbal communication skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
- the ability to work well with others
- leadership skills
- the ability to work well with your hands
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
What you’ll do
In your day-to-day duties you may:
- develop clients' practical or social skills, confidence or self-esteem
- help clients to learn or re-learn basic skills, including numeracy and literacy
- provide outdoor activity and exercise to restore strength and mobility after injury or illness
- support clients to take horticultural qualifications or to move into employment
- work closely with other professionals like psychologists and social workers
- manage staff and volunteers
draw up proposals for projects
You could work in a garden, on a country estate or in a therapy clinic.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically demanding.
Career path and progression
You could use horticultural therapy as part of a wider role, like occupational therapy. With experience and further study, you could move into a supervisory role, or research.
You could become self-employed or train others in therapeutic techniques.