Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Certificate?

A certificate signifies that a student has successfully fulfilled all the requirements of a prescribed series of courses. Certificates are awarded each year, and have been used by individuals to prepare for entry-level positions in green industry occupations, to obtain salary raises or increased responsibilities in their current positions.

Where do I start?

Botany 1 is a prerequisite for most courses, but select classes may be taken prior to fulfilling this requirement. Most courses do not have to be taken in any sequential order. Any prerequisite courses within the program are listed in the certificate program outline. Students may take individual courses whether or not they chose to pursue a complete program of study. Exceptions are Botanical Arts, Healthcare Garden Design, and Horticultural Therapy certificates.

When and where are classes held?

All classes are held at the Chicago Botanic Garden with limited site visits to outside venues. Core classes are programmed on weekday evenings and weekends to accommodate working professionals and adults with busy lifestyles.

How large are the classes?

Lecture classes can hold up to 50 students. Lab formats are limited to 20 – 24 students. Design and art courses are limited to 16 students.

How much will this cost?

Classes average $13 per instructional hour. Any required text books and supplies are not included in the registration fee.

How long will this take me?

We offer students a flexible approach to their education allowing them to finish a program at their own pace. Some programs can be completed in as little as two years and others have up to seven years for completion. Students may enroll in a single course to address a specific need or interest, build a sequence of courses to meet individual needs, or earn a certificate of completion for a specific program of study.

How do I receive my certificate?

Certificates are awarded once a year at our fall graduation ceremony and reception. Students must register with the office of continuing education for graduation and certificate completion.

How do I receive student class information?

All certificate students are asked to provide an email address for program information, course updates and general student correspondence.

How many classes can I or should I take?

Most students begin with one core class or an elective course. How many classes you enroll in is up to the individual and their schedule, but it is advised that students take no more than three multisession course concurrently.

Which certificate is right for me?

Even if the Garden Design Certificate is your end goal, students begin their studies pursuing the Ornamental Plant Materials Certificate, which provides a base knowledge of plant materials. The core courses are integrated throughout the series of certificates programs; students continue to build upon their coursework and can achieve multiple certificates.

How many hours of studying can I expect?

Students can expect to set aside a minimum of two to four hours per class for study, reading, project work, and homework assignments. This amount varies on the person and the number of classes.