Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the difference between Therapeutic Horticulture and Horticultural Therapy?
- What types of goals can be achieved with therapeutic horticulture?
- What type of plant and/or nature-based activities do therapeutic horticulture practitioners use as a treatment intervention?
- What is a therapeutic garden?
- What’s the difference between the Hybrid and Online Certificates in Therapeutic Horticulture?
- How many hours of work per week should I expect to spend on the online and hybrid programs?
- Who is eligible to participate in NCBG’s Online and Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture programs?
- Why did the North Carolina Botanical Garden choose to create TH Certificate programs that are not accredited by the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA)?
- Will I receive college credit hours, and can I use Federal Financial aid to pay for the Online or Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
- Are the Online or Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture programs eligible for continuing education credits?
- If I complete the Online or Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture, what types of jobs would I be prepared/eligible for?
- Can I volunteer with the NCBG Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
- I’m interested in therapeutic horticulture as a primary career or as a supplemental specialty to add to my primary career. How do I get started?
- How can I support the NCBG Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
What is the difference between Therapeutic Horticulture and Horticultural Therapy?
Please review this ‘Differences Between TH & HT’ document to discover how therapeutic horticulture and horticultural therapy differ from one another. If you’re interested in learning more about how to become a registered horticultural therapist (HTR), visit the American Horticultural Therapy Association’s (AHTA) professional registration webpage and learn more about AHTA-accredited horticultural therapy training programs.
What types of goals can be achieved with therapeutic horticulture?
The most common goals that therapeutic horticulture practitioners work towards with clients are health & wellbeing goals, psychological, physical, cognitive, social, spiritual, and vocational goals.
Examples of these goals are as follows:
Health & Wellbeing Goal: Increase sense of personal health and well-being.
Psychological Goal: Decrease feelings of stress and anxiety.
Physical Goal: Improve balance and physical endurance.
Cognitive Goal: Improve memory and concentration.
Social Goal: Increase self-awareness and healthy interpersonal relationships.
Spiritual Goal: Increase sense of connection and belonging.
Vocational Goal: Increase workplace communication skills.
*All of these goals are based on evidence-based research outcomes performed within TH studies.
What type of plant and/or nature-based activities do therapeutic horticulture practitioners use as a treatment intervention?
- Garden maintenance activities- Weeding, deadheading, planting, watering, etc.
- Starting/growing plants from seed
- Planning, planting, maintaining vegetables
- Maintaining a perennial/shrub nursery
- Planting and maintaining raised beds and annual flower containers
- Greenhouse plant production
- Hydroponics/aquaponics/vertical gardening systems
- Indoor & outdoor plant propagation
- Plant-based arts and crafts
- Creation of value-added products- Pressed flower cards, salsa, dried herb blends, etc.
- Cut flower gardening & bouquets
- Nature walks & ‘Forest Bathing’
- Vocational training- green-industry skills & workplace psychosocial skills
- Mindfulness activities
- Plant sales
What is a therapeutic garden?
According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association,
“A therapeutic garden is designed for use as a component of a treatment program such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or horticultural therapy programs and can be considered as a subcategory of a healing garden. Therapeutic gardens are designed as part of a multi-disciplinary collaborative process by a team of professionals to meet the treatment goals of a specific user or population. It may provide for both horticultural and non-horticultural activities. It should be designed. A therapeutic garden may exist on its own as an extension of an indoor therapeutic program area or it may be part of a larger healing garden.”
To learn more about the differences between therapeutic gardens, healing gardens, horticultural therapy gardens, and restorative gardens, please visit this website.
What is the difference between the Hybrid and Online Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture?
The Online certificate program is 100% online and asynchronous, with pre-recorded lectures and a rich online forum and networking community. It consists of four separate courses and takes 1-2 years to complete. In general, the Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture (TH1) course is held at least two times per year (spring and fall) and the final three courses TH Program Development (TH2), Accommodating Diverse Populations in TH (TH3), and TH Program Development (TH4) are each held one time per year in successive order.
Typical class schedule for the Online certificate program:
The Hybrid certificate program is approximately 15% online, 85% in person, with six hours of an in-person experiential workshop each month and around 1-2 hours per month of pre-recorded lectures. It takes 9 months to complete and has a set schedule of on-site dates. All in-person workshops occur at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
How many hours of work per week should I expect to spend on the online and hybrid programs?
Hybrid Program: 9-month program
- Watch pre-recorded lectures: 1-2 hours per month (15-30 mins per week)
- Home Assignments/Exercises/Reading: 30-40 mins per week
- Attend in-person workshops: 54 hours over 9-month span. 1 workshop/month for 6-hrs. each
Online Program: Series of four, 6-week long courses
- Watch pre-recorded lectures: 1-2 hours per week (each course is 6 weeks long)
- Online exercises (multiple choice questions, drag and drop, etc.): 5-10 questions per lesson (typically 4-6 lessons per week)
- Forum Discussions: Complete 1-2 forum discussion responses per week. Each response must be between 250-500 words, and you’ll respond (50 words or less) to at least two of your peers’ posts. Students are encouraged to read as many peer posts as possible, so the amount of time required is dependent on the engagement level of each student.
- Module Quizzes: 1 quiz per module (4-6 modules per course) with 10 questions each.
- Optional supplemental reading and video resources: As desired by student. Approximately 30-60 minutes per module.
- Final Online Exam: 20 questions total. Average 20–60-minute completion time.
Who is eligible to participate in NCBG’s Online and Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture programs?
Anyone! Our students tend to fall into three categories:
1.) Professionals (or students) of allied health fields such as:
Occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists, recreational therapists, art/music/movement therapists, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, nurses, physicians, rehabilitation counselors, vocational rehabilitation counselors, substance use disorder counselors, palliative care/hospice professionals.
2.) Professionals (or students) of non-clinical allied fields such as:
K-12 educators, college educators, educators of exceptional children, public/community garden professionals, urban planning designers, landscape designers/architects.
3.) Master Gardeners and/or individuals who are not members of the professions listed above, and who have a strong desire to empower human/plant connections and enter the field of therapeutic horticulture from their own unique experiential lens.
Why did the North Carolina Botanical Garden choose to create TH Certificate programs that are not accredited by the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA)?
We believe that making TH education as accessible as possible is paramount to increasing the number of practitioners in the field regardless of location, socioeconomic status, the presence of a part/full time job, child-care duties, or other life circumstances that prevent people from pursuing this field.
By offering much of our educational content online for both our Online and Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture programs, we can keep registration fees down by reducing our overhead costs as well as meet people just about anywhere they are through a computer and internet access. Furthermore, although we welcome students from all educational/experiential backgrounds, our certificate programs attract allied health professionals who recognize the relevance and importance of becoming cross-trained in therapeutic horticulture. These individuals already possess valuable education and experience working with diverse populations and attend our program to learn the skills needed to integrate plant and nature-based activities into their respective practices.
AHTA accredited programs are exclusively offered for college credit. As such, you’ll receive high-quality, for-credit education that bears the higher price of college credits, and the rigor of college-level schedules and workloads. These programs are well worth the price and energy and can also pose financial and logistical barriers.
The North Carolina Botanical Garden values, advocates for, and strongly encourages their therapeutic horticulture students to pursue professional registration status (HTR credential) whenever possible through an AHTA accredited HT program. If you’re interested in pursuing professional registration through AHTA but are not sure whether you’re ready to invest in a college level program, consider taking our affordable online Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture (TH1) course. This course will provide you with an overview of the field and assist you in exploring your continued education and professional options in the fields of therapeutic horticulture and horticultural therapy. Upon completion of TH1, students will have a strong understanding of whether professional horticultural therapy registration is the right path for them.
Will I receive college credit hours, and can I use Federal Financial aid to pay for the Online or Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
The Online and Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture are NOT eligible for college credit and therefore, students cannot utilize Federal Financial Aid to pay for either program.
If you require financial assistance to attend one of our certificate programs, please consider the following options:
1.) Ask your employer if they will pay your registration fee.
We have had numerous students whose employers were more than happy to pay for this specialized training in therapeutic horticulture. If your employer is not familiar with the practice of therapeutic horticulture, consider sending them a link to this informational video to educate them on the benefits of TH and the program you’re considering.
2.) Seek a partial scholarship.
The Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture offers four partial scholarships per year. Students who receive this scholarship will receive a $1,200 discount from the registration fee (student responsible for $650 remaining balance).
At this time, we are unable to provide scholarships for the online certificate program despite the fact that we receive numerous requests for online scholarships per year. If you would like to support an aspiring online TH student, consider funding a partial or full scholarship for a student in need ($359-$409 per course), please click the ‘Support’ button at the bottom of this page.
3.) Establish a payment plan.
If you are experiencing financial hardship or have missed the annual scholarship deadline but still want to participate, contact our online or hybrid registrars to design a payment plan that fits your needs:
Hybrid Program: David Michaud at firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Program: Laura Barth at Laura_Barth@ncsu.edu
Many of our students choose to pay a self-identified monthly payment (interest fee, no credit checks) up to the start date of the program.
Are the Online or Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture programs eligible for continuing education credits?
Yes! Both the Hybrid and Online Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture programs are eligible for continuing education credits through the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Friday Center.
Hybrid Program = 6.6 CEU’s (for 9-month program)
Online Program = 3.6 CEU’s per course (four courses total required to complete certificate)
Each student is responsible for contacting their licensure/certification board or field-specific association to inquire whether they will accept the CEU’s earned through the UNC Friday Center.
If I complete the Online or Hybrid Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture, what types of jobs would I be prepared/eligible for?
The three most common employment models that therapeutic horticulture practitioners have available to them are as follows:
Therapeutic Horticulture Contractor:
Becoming a TH contractor is a great way to make a living for those who are confident in their skills, self-motivated, and have an entrepreneurial spirit. TH contractors establish their own company and provide direct TH services and/or consulting services to customers on a fee-for-service basis. The upside to being a contractor is that you get to control your schedule and choose the populations and sites in which you work. The downside to being a contractor (for some) is that the marketing, billing, and administrative duties of the business are your responsibility unless you choose to outsource these duties.
TH Contractors typically charge between $50-100 per facilitation hour for their services. It is customary for a contractor to charge for one hour of TH session direct service time, as well as 30-60 minutes of preparation/documentation time per session. TH contractors are reimbursed by their customers for activity material costs.
Part/Full-Time TH Position:
Though part and full-time TH positions are not as readily available as they are for more traditional treatment interventions, there are more jobs available for TH practitioners now than ever before. Part-time TH jobs can be found in many non-profit and for-profit settings that serve vulnerable populations such as in healthcare, assisted living, and rehabilitation centers. The full-time TH jobs that exist in the U.S are typically found in larger institutions such as public gardens, Universities/Colleges, government facilities, or in private, for-profit institutions that can afford to employ a TH professional and provide benefits. The upside to having a part/full time TH position is that you earn a consistent salary and have assistance with the administrative demands of the program. The downside (for some) is that you may not always get to choose which populations or settings you engage, and your schedule will be based on the needs of your employer.
The pay rates for part/full-time TH employees vary widely. Much like with other professions, your pay will be based on the employer’s budget and your level of education and experience. In general, it is not uncommon for part/full-time TH employees to earn between $35,000 and $70,000 annually.
Split-Position Therapeutic Horticulture Practitioner:
Perhaps the most common TH employment model is a ‘Split-Position’ role. In this model, an individual is being paid for a role that is unrelated to TH and is permitted to integrate TH practices into their primary role. Examples of this arrangement could be:
- A middle school teacher (primary role) who wants to teach their science class outside in a therapeutic garden and not only teach about natural science, but also provide opportunities for their students to build communication, teamwork, and organization skills that can be gained through facilitating activities in the garden (secondary role).
- An occupational therapist who has a client that is depressed and lacks motivation to learn how to use their new prosthetic limb after an amputation. The client won’t engage in treatment in the gym, but they are willing to go outside and engage in gardening activities (which inevitably gives the OT the opportunity to teach adaptive independent living skills in the preferred setting).
- A nurse or dietician who is trying to convey the importance of a healthy diet and weight loss to clients, so chooses to integrate TH vegetable growing activities into their practices so the clients get exercise and a direct connection to healthy food growing, harvesting, and cooking skills.
This employment model is compensated based on the average amount that the primary role typically earns. However, when TH activities/expertise are added to an existing set of job duties, it is customary for the employer to raise the employee’s rate of pay to compensate them for the additional level (secondary role) of expertise they’re contributing.
Can I volunteer with the NCBG Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
We love welcoming volunteers! Depending on the season and which programs/projects are being facilitated at any given time, it is likely that we can find a way to utilize your time and talents. To inquire about this opportunity, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator, David Michaud at email@example.com
I’m interested in therapeutic horticulture as a primary career or as a supplemental specialty to add to my primary career. How do I get started?
1.) Join a regional therapeutic horticulture networking group.
Regional groups provide excellent opportunities for TH-minded people to congregate and share ideas, encouragement, support, and often involve online and in-person trainings and networking events that are open to anyone who has a desire to connect people and plants. You can find a comprehensive list of regional horticultural therapy/therapeutic horticulture groups in the U.S at THIS LINK. The regional group that serves North Carolina (and surrounding states) is the Carolinas Horticultural Therapy Network. Network with TH/HT professionals, volunteers, and allies and ask them what it’s like to be a practitioner in the field, how their journey led them to TH, and what suggestions they have for newcomers who are entering the field.
2.) Register for the 100% online, Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture (TH1) course.
The Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture course will provide a comprehensive overview of the field and how it can be implemented within diverse settings and populations. This course will also explain the differences between earning a Certificate in Therapeutic Horticulture, compared to becoming a registered horticultural therapist. By the time students complete this introductory course, they have a solid understanding of what their educational and professional options are within the fields of therapeutic horticulture and horticultural therapy. Our TH1 course is an affordable, efficient way for students to determine whether it’s in their best interest to invest in continued TH/HT education.
If you lack confidence in your gardening/farming/plant husbandry skills, find a local public garden, farm, community garden, or mentor and volunteer your time. This experience will empower you with the ability to determine whether a plant-based field such as TH is right for you and offer invaluable gardening skills.
Identify a population that you’d like to work with (elders, children, autism spectrum, etc.) and find a volunteer opportunity with this population in your community. Gain experience and knowledge of the population’s challenges, needs, strengths, and abilities. Ask yourself, can I see myself working with this population in a professional capacity? If your volunteer experience is uplifting, you’re on the right track!
How can I support the NCBG Therapeutic Horticulture Program?
1.) Help spread the word!
- Discuss the concept and raise awareness of therapeutic horticulture as a treatment intervention with your friends, family, colleagues, organization, business, or through social media outlets.
- Encourage members of your community to join NCBG’s Online & Hybrid TH Certificate programs.
- Hire a therapeutic horticulture practitioner or horticultural therapist to design a program that matches the needs of your organization/client-base.
2.) Utilize North Carolina Botanical Garden therapeutic horticulture services.
- Engage us to provide TH programming in your facility or with your group/organization, or with an individual.
- Utilize our TH consultation services and discover whether your site is viable for a therapeutic horticulture program. Our highly skilled TH consultants are equipped with the knowledge to develop client-centered TH programs that match the needs of your site, budget, and client base.
3.) Financial Support
As leaders and innovative forerunners in the field of therapeutic horticulture, we depend on community and individual support to continue offering direct service and educational therapeutic horticulture programs. Your financial support enables us to provide scholarships for potential students, fund program staff, reduce fees for direct service in the community, and/or work on special projects such as our most recent partnership with a Ukrainian veteran rehabilitation hospital who asked NCBG to train their service providers to facilitate therapeutic horticulture sessions with Ukrainian veterans who have been wounded on the battlefield.
Click the Support button at the bottom of this page to donate now! Your support is much appreciated!