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Horticultural therapist

Alternative titles for this job include

Horticultural therapists use gardening to improve their clients' health and wellbeing, and to learn new skills.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter


£27,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

30 to 37 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends managing your own hours

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Horticultural therapist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree course, then take further training in social and therapeutic horticulture. 

Subjects include:

  • horticulture
  • health and wellbeing
  • occupational therapy
  • mental health or learning disability nursing

Some universities offer horticulture courses that include modules on social and therapeutic horticulture.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could take a college course to get some of the skills needed for this job, which may help you when looking for work.

Courses include:

  • horticulture
  • garden design
  • practical horticulture skills

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

More Information


You may be able to work towards this role by doing an apprenticeship before taking further training in therapeutic horticulture.

 Apprenticeships include:

  • Horticulture Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Horticulture Supervisor Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Community Health and Wellbeing Worker Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

Entry requirements

To get onto an apprenticeship, you'll find it useful to have:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More Information


It can be really useful to get experience by volunteering as a support worker on a horticulture project. You'll get a better understanding of the role, and make contacts who could help when looking for work.

Thrive offer volunteering opportunities, if you live within travelling distance of their gardens in Battersea (South London), Birmingham or Reading. They also have details of other horticulture projects around the UK.

You can find other local volunteering schemes from Do IT and NCVO.

Other Routes

You can do training courses with Thrive, a national charity working in horticultural therapy. Thrive offer courses from introductory level to more advanced, like the Diploma in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture.

More Information

Career tips

You may have an advantage if you are moving into this career from another area of horticulture or gardening, or a job such as social care, occupational therapy, mental health nursing, counselling or teaching.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a horticultural therapist from Thrive and the Chartered Institute of Horticulture.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a horticultural therapist, you could:

  • develop clients' practical and social skills, confidence and self-esteem
  • provide outdoor activities to restore strength and mobility after injury or illness
  • support clients to take horticultural qualifications or to move into work
  • work closely with other professionals like psychologists and social workers
  • manage staff and volunteers
  • draw up proposals for projects and raise funds

Working environment

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

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 teach and supervise trainees in therapeutic horticulture methods.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Landscape Site Operative

  • Wage: £14,560 a year Annually
  • Location: Manor Farm,, Newton-on-Trent,, Lincolnshire

Apprentice Horticulture or Landscape Construction Operative

  • Wage: £9,984 a year Annually
  • Location: Sampford Peverell, Tiverton

Courses In England


  • Start date: 08 July 2024
  • Location: BARNSLEY


  • Start date: 04 September 2024
  • Location: Halifax

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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