Factors Influencing College Students’ Propensity to Pursue Horticulture as a Career

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ag Science and Natural Resources

Date of Award

Fall 2020


The horticulture industry continues to grow, but interest from students in these careers is declining. While previous studies addressed the recruitment of horticulture students from the perspective of graduates, and other studies examined society’s perceptions of careers in horticulture, no studies have identified those aspects of the horticulture industry that influence a student’s propensity to pursue a career in horticulture. Therefore, this study focuses on factors influencing students' propensity to choose horticulture as a career. The survey was administered at eight institutions of higher education (universities and community colleges) across Texas. Survey questions focused on gathering basic demographic data along with those that identify pathways and barriers that entice or diminish students’ propensity to pursue a career in horticulture/ plant science fields. An ordered logit model was estimated to empirically analyze the effects of student demographic and attitudinal characteristics on their propensity to choose a horticultural career. While a significant portion of students said they were likely to major in horticulture/plant science, only a fraction of those reported that they were horticulture/plant science majors. Knowing someone already working in the horticulture industry and having an affinity for working with plants presented a statistically significant impact on encouraging students to pursue a career in horticulture industry. Additionally, the current salary range of the career proved to be a barrier for students seeking comparable high paying careers. There were, however, many factors that did not impact a student’s propensity to pursue horticulture; including which institution they attended. Therefore, there are few factors which affect a student’s proclivity to pursue a career in horticulture to direct attention towards and there is a significant degree of interest from the student’s perceptive – it is only a matter of encouraging their interest and making the career in the horticulture industry a competitive option for them.


Derald Harp

Subject Categories

Agriculture | Life Sciences | Plant Sciences