Schools Offering Courses

Simon Fraser University

The current greenhouses, outside growing plots, and growth chamber facilities are used extensively by a broad range of researchers. Research areas utilizing these facilities include forest ecophysiology, plant pathology, pest management and behavioural ecology. The facilities also produce the standard teaching plant materials and maintain a selected collection of species from various continents and climatic zones. SFU Website

Okanagan College

Okanagan College Continuing Studies offers a Landscape Horticulture Certificate. The landscape industry has seen increased consumer demand for professional landscape services. This 120-hour program provides the core skills required for employment, as well as upgrading for those currently involved with the various phases of landscape horticulture. Persons with responsibilities for administering landscape construction or maintenance contracts will also find the program beneficial. The Landscape Horticulture Certificate program also provides a solid foundation for individuals interested in pursuing advanced studies in specialized horticulture disciplines such as turf grass maintenance, landscape design, and nursery propagation. Okanagan College Website

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

The school of horticulture at the Langley campus of Kwantlen Polytechnic University is the biggest college of its kind in Canada, but there are a few other colleges and institutions in B.C. offering horticulture training courses. KPU Website

University of B.C. Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research

A nine-month, full-time horticultural training course was launched in 2012 at the garden, partly to fill the gap left when the horticulture courses at Capilano University in North Vancouver stopped operating.

Courses are the equivalent of the apprenticeship levels 1 and 2 at Kwantlen, with an emphasis on the fundamentals and practical aspects of horticulture. Students graduate with a horticultural technician certificate.

Douglas Justice, assistant director and curator of collections at the garden, says the course provides excellent opportunities for students to train alongside “industry-leading horticulturists”.

Students get to work in the botanical garden and have access to the experts who work there. UBC Botanical Garden Website

University of Northern BC

University of Northern BC offers multiple undergrad and graduate programs in horticulture.

The Forest Ecology and Management degree provides students with a thorough understanding of the science, philosophy, and practice of managing forested ecosystems. Through study and activeStudents in field learning experiences, students obtain a consistent and broad background in course work that encompasses foundational and integrative topics. Given the range of knowledge and expertise needed to effectively manage forested ecosystems, students are then provided an opportunity to select a minor and pursue a specialisation consistent with the overall objectives of the degree. Although the degree is designed to expose students to contemporary knowledge and techniques drawn from a variety of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, students also are encouraged to challenge conventional knowledge paradigms and approaches to forest management.

The Forest Ecology and Management degree is accredited by the Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board, and is administered by the Ecosystem Science and Management Program. UNBC Website

University of the Fraser Valley

UFV’s four-year Bachelor of Agricultural Science with a Horticulture major helps you develop the perfect mix of technical, communication, and business skills to prepare you to play a leading role in the Fraser Valley’s agricultural sector.

In addition to including the core content offered by Horticulture programs in this field (e.g. nursery, greenhouse, vegetable, fruit production and science), the degree has a strong applied focus. Most of the courses are associated with a laboratory section, practical greenhouse work, and/or field trips.

Lab work in Biology, Chemistry, Physical Geography courses provide exposure to laboratory equipment as well as training in report writing and presentations. The Agriculture courses emphasize greenhouse operation, pest diagnosis and treatment, and soil analysis both from a theoretical and practical perspective. UFV Website

Horticultural Centre of the Pacific, Victoria

The Pacific Horticultural College offers a 10-month horticultural technician course (Foundation Program) from January to November, designed for students who want to be full-time professional gardeners. This is the equivalent of the levels 1 and 2 landscape/production horticulture apprenticeship course at Kwantlen.

HCP also offers a variety of part-time landscape horticultural courses for people who want to get credits for a landscape horticultural certificate, which usually takes two years of part-time courses and 500 hours of practical work.

“We get people in their 30s who are going through a career change and are looking for a more fulfilling career,” says Laura Biggs, program facilitator.

Students use the 10-acre HCP gardens, formerly known as Glendale Gardens, containing more than 10,000 varieties of plants, and 34 different areas designed and planted to demonstrate landscaping techniques suitable for the Pacific Northwest. HCP Website

Camosun College, Victoria

The full-time 10-month horticultural technician certificate (Foundation Program) is equivalent to Level 1 and 2 landscape/production horticulture apprentice courses at Kwantlen.

It runs from July to April, allowing graduates ample time to find work in the spring. Classes are held at the campus of Royal Roads University, where there is a 2.7-hectare walled garden.

Graduates often start their own garden installation/maintenance business or go to work for golf courses or municipal park departments. Camosun College Website

Burnaby School District Community and Continuing Education Division

Burnaby is offering for the first time this year a six-week daytime course, equivalent to levels 1 and 2 of the landscape/production horticulture apprenticeship program, starting in October and January. There is a requirement for work experience in addition to tuition.

Other programs are offered at night or on weekends, designed to allow working people to upgrade their skills without having to quit their job. These include tree identification, landscape design, residential landscape diploma, as well as an organic gardener’s certificate, offered in partnership with Gaia College. Burnaby Continuing Ed Website

Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops

Thompson Rivers offers a 35-week full-time Foundation Program, which is the equivalent of levels 1 and 2 of the landscape/production horticulture apprenticeship program at Kwantlen. The course is from August to April.

Graduates end up with a horticulture certificate. It is designed for people who want to go into business for themselves or are seeking mid-management positions with a municipality.

Students are allowed to develop horticultural skill by working on the university grounds at least two days a week. The horticulture program is also responding to an evolving interest in edible landscapes and urban food production. TRU Website

Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo

Formerly known as Malaspina College, it offers a 12-month horticultural technician certificate program, which is equivalent to the foundation program and levels 1 and 2 of the landscape/production horticulture apprenticeship program at Kwantlen.

Students use the 14-hectare G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre and the 70-acre Milner Gardens and Woodland in Qualicum Beach for their training.

The horticulture program also includes more than 70 exchange students from Tamagawa University in Japan, a connection that is thought to enrich the horticultural learning of students from B.C.

VIU is building an aquaponics program in collaboration with fisheries and aquaculture. The horticulture program also has partnerships with different faculties on the main campus to offer students a broader range of horticultural experience from culinary arts, geography and forestry. VIU Website

Gaia College, Cowichan

This college was started in 2001 by horticulturists Heide and Michael Hermary, who were frustrated that organic horticulture and nature gardening practices were not being widely taught.

Today, Gaia partners with various educational institutions and colleges to provide curricula, classroom courses and online programs for a wide range of topics, including growing food, ecological landscape design, organic master gardener, and organic soil and turf management.

Gaia also offers a diploma in organic land care that comprises four components — plant knowledge for organic gardens, ecological landscape design, growing food and organic horticultural specialist.

The primary emphasis is on healthy, environmentally-friendly horticultural practices. Humber College in Ontario is one institution that has incorporated Gaia curricula into its programs.

For information and fees for all other courses, click here go to Gaia’s website.


Information sourced from article by Steve Whysall in the Vancouver Sun, along with other online sources.

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