Parking  |  Donate  |  Join


Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program

January 6 – November 15, 2020

This exciting, one year college-accredited certificate program combines online learning with two clinical face to face sessions for hands-on training, allowing students to gain experience and skills through participating in one of the premier horticultural therapy programs in the country.

For more than 30 years, the Chicago Botanic Garden has been at the forefront of the horticultural therapy field, providing consultation, training, and direct services throughout the country and around the world. We have a partnership with Oakton Community College, recognized as a model two-year college in a New York Times article, to offer a unique and innovative professional development program, the Horticultural Therapy Certificate (HTC).

The Horticultural Therapy Certificate program is accredited by the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA) and thus the horticultural therapy coursework qualifies toward AHTA voluntary professional registration. Please consult AHTA for the additional steps required to pursue registration as a horticultural therapist (

Who should participate? Individuals who wish to achieve competency in creating, delivering, and evaluating plant- and nature-based activities adapted to a variety of functional abilities. You will have honed basic horticultural skills, and you will have an understanding of the theory and delivery methods unique to horticultural therapy. Garden-trained Horticultural Therapists also work in myriad facilities serving individuals with special needs.

Horticultural Therapy

Horticultural therapy (HT) is the professionally directed use of plant, garden, and nature activities to achieve measurable physical and mental health outcomes for clients. Horticultural therapists practice in hospitals, rehabilitation and vocational facilities, skilled care agencies and senior centers, community gardens, botanic gardens, schools, horticultural businesses, prisons, and other settings.

Program Overview

The Horticultural Therapy Certificate (HTC) is designed to focus on the development of HT skills and methods. The HTC program combines on-site training at the Chicago Botanic Garden with online distance learning. Upon completing the program, students will be able to explain the evidence basis, efficacy and unique benefits of horticultural therapy and to integrate horticultural therapy activities into current or future health career areas. They will also analyze the critical issues that horticulture therapists consider when planning programs, activities, and site design; and design and facilitate horticultural therapy sessions for individuals or groups.

Program Design

The HTC program offers unparalleled opportunities for student immersion into the field of horticultural therapy. This unique curriculum combines online distance learning with hands-on training and user-group interaction. This hybrid course design affords working adults flexibility in their schedules and keeps travel at a minimum. All Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program course work is accredited through the Garden's partnership with Oakton Community College. Oakton Community College manages college registration and payment, while the Chicago Botanic Garden manages the programmatic components. Both face-to-face sessions occur on-site at the Chicago Botanic Garden. No portion of the program is held at the Oakton Community College campus.

Students accepted into the certificate program are required to matriculate through all three courses within the year of their acceptance into the program and attend the associated onsite sessions. Online classes are asynchronous, but students must meet weekly deadlines for course work and participation. Failure to comply will result in a failing grade and lead to program dismissal. Students may apply for an exemption from HTC100 if college accredited coursework in the field of horticulture is provided. 

Students in this curriculum are required to provide their own lodging and transportation to the Chicago Botanic Garden for both of the four-day on-site training portions.

There is a limited enrollment in the program so early submission of complete application packet is highly encouraged.


  • Minimum of 12 college-level credits from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4-point scale or two years of full-time or equivalent professional experience working in settings such as hospitals, rehabilitation and vocational facilities, skilled care agencies and senior centers, community gardens, botanic gardens, schools, horticultural businesses, or prisons (employer verification required).
  • One year of high school biology or one semester of college biology; minimum grade of C.
  • Entry level competency for English 101 (EGL 101) as demonstrated by coursework or Oakton’s English Writing Assessment Test (WSAT).
  • Knowledge of and experience with growing plants and/or gardening is strongly encouraged.
  • Proficiency in basic computer and internet skills.
  • North American residents that are able to acquire the proper documentation for participation in the on-site sessions are eligible to apply for the Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program.

Click here for further program requirements.

Program Tuition and Fees

HTC students will receive Oakton Community College's in-district pricing of $136.50 per credit hour for the 2019 Fall – 2020 Spring school term. There will be a $500 course fee assessed for each of the HTC101 and HTC110 courses. Tuition for all three courses is $2,638 plus Oakton Community College student fees. Please note that tuition and fees are subject to change without notice. For detailed information regarding Oakton's fee structure click here.

Tuition and course fees include online classroom access, on-site program materials, as well as select meals, and transportation to clinical sites during the face-to-face sessions. Tuition does not include expenses related to travel and lodging during the face-to-face session, text books, and fees required by the college such as one-time application fee, activity fee, construction fee and registration fee. Financial aid is not available for students only enrolled in the HTC program. Payment plans are available through Oakton Community College. Clinical visits may require a health assessment, certain immunizations, and substance abuse testing. These requirements may represent an additional program cost to the student.


The Regenstein School of the Chicago Botanic Garden recommends the Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel for accommodations.

Required Texts

All required texts and materials need to be purchased prior to each class start date.
The following texts are available via


HTC101 and HTC110:

The following required texts and materials can only be purchased through CBG:
Click here to order the material below


  • Health Through Horticulture Indoor Gardening Activity Plans: An Indoor Gardening Guide for Therapeutic Outcomes
  • Garden for Life Fact Sheets


If you have questions about your application or the Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program, please contact Adult Education at or (847) 835-8293.