Traditionally Nursery Workers were able to learn on the job and work their way up. Increasingly, however, greenhouses and farms are becoming large industrial-type operations and workers are expected to have much higher skill levels and education. In the U.S. and Canada there are a number of educational programs offered, ranging from a two-year horticulture diploma to a post-diploma Bachelor of Applied Science in Production Horticulture. Courses in agriculture and plant genetics can also be helpful in this profession. Students wishing to enter these programs need strong marks in English, Chemistry, Biology, Science and Math.
Continuing education is important in this field, as mechanization of tree farming, research into improved growing methods and new horticulture technologies contribute to changes in how nurseries operate. A nursery worker needs to stay abreast of environmental issues and current trends towards organic methods of pest control. Many countries have trade associations that offer ongoing education and horticulture workshops.
Some of the personal characteristics that are helpful for nursery workers include:
manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination
strength and stamina
no allergies related to plants, pollen, or pesticides
patience and thoroughness
an eye for detail
good decision-making abilities
technical skills and ability to operate and maintain complex machinery
Customer service is part of the job, so workers should be comfortable dealing with the public courteously and efficiently. A thorough knowledge of the plants, trees, and shrubs under the worker's care is essential. Perhaps most importantly, a Nursery Worker must love greenery and growing things.