Knowledge before practice
Academic coursework is the springboard for those considering a career in horticultural therapy (HT). HT education is multidisciplinary and encompasses studies in human sciences and plant science, as well as HT concepts and techniques. Although not mandatory, many individuals choose to pursue advanced degrees.
Some practitioners claim to engage in ‘horticultural therapy’ without the requisite training; however their employment opportunities tend to be limited by employers’ increasing desire to conform to qualification standards.
AHTA is committed to a strategy of expanding acceptance of, and thus employment opportunities for, horticultural therapists through certification, professional registration and, in the future, credentialing. For an explanation of why this is critical to the profession, please read The Three C's: Credentialing, Certification and Certificate Programs.
How do I become a horticultural therapist?
Academic programs in HT are offered in colleges and universities, through AHTA-accredited certificate programs (offered by many botanical gardens and institutions), or in other specialized training settings. Online horticultural therapy programs are becoming more readily available.
An internship is a critical component of horticultural therapy education and the basis for on-the-job training. Professional development is a life-long commitment for horticultural therapists, who continue to pursue academic discovery through research studies, other AHTA publications, and networking at the regional level.
Educational options in horticultural therapy
Three general types of academic programming in horticultural therapy are available: college/ university degree programs, AHTA-accredited certificate programs, and career training programs. The highest credential in a horticultural therapy career is Professional Registration (HTR). Please review requirements for registration prior to selecting an academic curriculum.
To find the courses and locations that best suit your specific interests, see our comprehensive list of educational options. Course descriptions, registration requirements, and tuition costs vary widely depending on the institution. Be sure to contact the schools for details on their horticultural therapy curricula.
AHTA-Accredited Certificate Programs
Horticultural therapy *certificate programs are instructional programs for college credit that are designed to provide a foundation in the theory and application of horticultural therapy for diverse populations. In accrediting these programs, AHTA assures that the program meets nationally-endorsed standards in the profession, and meets the horticultural therapy requirements for the AHTA’s voluntary professional registration program.
Accreditation further assures that the program achieves designated outcomes for the institutions as well as AHTA’s educational requirements and is consistent with their respective goals and objectives.
In accrediting a certificate program, the AHTA recognizes horticultural therapy coursework directed by a registered horticultural therapist (HTR) with a minimum of 3 years of professional workplace experience in the field of horticultural therapy.
Certificate Program Documents:
- To apply to have a program accredited by the AHTA as an Accredited Certificate Program, click here to view the Policies and Procedures.
- For the Application Form to have a Certificate Program accredited by the AHTA, click here.
- For the Certificate Program Renewal Form, click here.
*Please note that graduates of certificate programs are not ‘certified’ horticultural therapists. They receive a certificate of completion of horticultural therapy coursework which will be required should they pursue professional registration with AHTA.