Graduates with advanced degrees will be in the best position to enter jobs as horticulturists. Bachelors degree holders can work in some applied research and product development positions, but usually only in certain subfields. Those preparing as crop or soil scientists take courses in plant pathology, soil chemistry,entomology, plant physiology, and biochemistry, among others. Advanced degree programs include classroom and fieldwork, laboratory research, and a thesis or dissertation based on independent research. Horticulturists who have advanced degrees usually begin in research or teaching. With experience, they may advance to jobs such as supervisors of research programs or managers of other agriculture-related activities. .
Employment of agricultural scientists is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through 2008. Past agricultural research has resulted in the development of higher-yielding crops, crops with better resistance to pests and plant pathogens, and chemically-based fertilizers and pesticides. Further research is necessary as insects and diseases continue to adapt to pesticides,and as soil fertility and water quality deteriorate. Agricultural scientists are using new research to develop plants and food crops that require less fertilizer, fewer pesticides and herbicides, and even less rain.
The median annual earnings of horticulturists was $42,340 in 1998. The middle 50 percent earned between $32,370 and $59,240.
Degrees in horticulture can be received at Mississippi State, The University of Arkansas, and the University of Vermont. The major required courses besides math, English, and basic sciences are Principles of Animal Science, Principles of Field Crops, Agriculture Orientation, Soils, Agricultural Economics, Applied Entomology, and Farm Management.
A drought is a condition of abnormally dry weather within a geographic region where some rain might usually be expected.