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Landscape Horticulturist


Landscape horticulturists, in consultation with clients, work with other trades to carry out landscaping operations and design in a variety of environments. This includes residential, commercial and public grounds, playgrounds, golf courses, garden centres, tree nurseries, greenhouses and interior landscapes.

Landscape horticulturists work with machinery and equipment ranging from simple hand tools such as pruning shears and sprayers to heavy-duty trucks, tractors, loaders and graders. They may be responsible for the routine maintenance of equipment. Since landscape gardeners also work with pesticides and fertilizers, they must be aware of government regulations restricting their use and the toxic or hazardous effects the chemicals may have.

Graduates of the landscape horticulturist apprenticeship program are certified journeypersons who are able to:

  • practice environmental stewardship principles,
  • consult with clients on all aspects of landscaping,
  • provide advice to customers on plant selection and care,
  • use trade-related tools and equipment,
  • identify plants and evaluate plant health,
  • install and maintain turfgrass,
  • trim and prune hedges, trees and shrubs,
  • mitigate plant diseases and insect problems,
  • apply fertilizers and pesticides,
  • amend poor soil conditions,
  • assess and prepare construction sites,
  • construct and maintain landscape structures,
  • install ponds and drainage systems,
  • install retaining walls, paths and patios,
  • install operate and maintain irrigation systems, and
  • work in all aspects of greenhouse and nursery production.

For more information regarding tasks and activities, please review the Trade Regulation.


Working Conditions

Employment in the landscape horticulturist trade is often seasonal with long hours in the summer months. Most of the work is performed outdoors, although some indoor work may be involved in the greenhouse production and sale of nursery stock, landscape materials, supplies and interior plantscape maintenance.

Landscape horticulturists work can be strenuous and may involve considerable lifting, carrying and bending. Other activities may include design, consulting and day-to-day business operations.


Skills and Abilities

The landscape horticulturist trade offers the chance to excel in a career with a variety of tasks while receiving recognition from this area of expertise. The work is most rewarding for those who like working with plants, and expressing their creativity.

To be successful in the trade, landscape horticulturists must have:

  • the strength, stamina and ability to use proper lifting techniques to lift and carry landscape materials weighing in excess of 25 kilograms,
  • the ability to work in all kinds of weather, and
  • good interpersonal skills to relate to their customers.


Employment and Advancement

Landscape horticulturists may be employed by landscape architects, contractors, nurseries, tree farms, greenhouses, cemeteries, governments, garden centres and landscape supply outlets. Beginning landscape horticulturists often enter the occupation during the busy summer months as labourers or apprentices.

Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $22 to $35 an hour, plus benefits.

Experienced landscape horticulturists may advance to supervisor, manager or head landscape horticulturist positions, or own and operate a business.


Working in Alberta

To work in the trade of landscape horticulturist in Alberta, a person must:

  • be a registered apprentice, an Alberta-certified journeyperson, hold a valid recognized credential, OR
  • work for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of a certified journeyperson, OR
  • be self-employed.

Individuals possessing a valid recognized credential in Alberta are eligible to receive a Blue Seal business credential after completing the necessary requirements.


Apprenticeship Training

The term of apprenticeship for a landscape horticulturist is 4 years (four 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1,260 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.

  • An applicant who previously completed courses of study or work experience related to the landscape horticulturist trade or holds a related journeyperson certificate and has the employer's recommendation, may qualify for credit that could reduce the term of apprenticeship. Inquiries about credit for previously completed courses of study or work experience can be directed to an apprentice representative toll-free at 1-800-248-4823.
  • A person who has previous training or work experience in the trade and wants to determine their level of skill and knowledge for entry or advanced standing in an apprenticeship program may complete the online Prior Learning Assessment Application.  
  • A high school student can become an apprentice and gain credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time under the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

To learn the skills required of a landscape horticulturist in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, a person must:

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.

For holders of an existing trade certificate, it can serve as your entrance requirement equivalency when registering in an additional trade.

  • complete the online Apprenticeship Application and Contract
  • pay the non-refundable application fee as part of the application process 
  • complete the required on-the-job training
    - during on-the-job training, apprentice landscape horticulturists earn at least 60 percent of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 70 percent in the second, 80 percent in the third, and 90 percent in the fourth year.
  • complete all program requirements as identified in the Course Outline (updated 2019)
  • enroll in technical training
  • successfully complete all required (See Exam Counselling Sheets)
  • Technical Training Resource List
    • Each period of technical training requires apprentices to purchase specific resources and supplies.
    • Contact the training provider where you will be attending training for a complete list.

When apprentices attend technical training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies.

Apprentices involved in the Career and Technology Studies (CTS) stream in high school may be eligible for credit towards their apprenticeship first period training. 

Student loans, grants, scholarships and other financial assistance may be available. For more information see Financial Assistance, visit an Apprenticeship and Industry Training office or call toll-free to 1-800-248-4823.


Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program

A landscape horticulturist who holds a valid trade certificate from Alberta or from another Canadian province or territory may apply to write the Interprovincial Exam and, if successful, be granted a Red Seal under the Interprovincial Standards Red Seal Program. The Red Seal is recognized throughout most of Canada.

To prepare for the exam see the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available Resource Materials.


Qualification Certificate Program

For a Qualification Certificate based on a recognized credential or work experience in order to prepare for the exam(s) please refer to the Exam Counselling Sheets and review available Resource Materials.

Time spent on supervisory or foreman duties, counter work, heading the tool crib, or on training course is NOT counted as 'hands-on' work experience.


Equivalency Program

A person who holds a valid recognized credential does not require an Alberta equivalency document to work in the trade in Alberta.

However, some employers may require Alberta documentation as proof that the holder is allowed to work in the trade or that the holder's credential is recognized.

Click for more information on the Equivalency Program.