Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Plant, Soil and Environmental Sciences

Major Professor

Susan L Hamilton

Committee Members

J Mark Fly, Angela J Wozencroft, William E Klingeman, Caula A Beyl, Douglas L Airhart


The Horticultural Therapy (HT) profession has been formally organized in the United States since 1973. Despite the long history of horticulture being used as therapy, the profession of HT in the United States has not advanced as quickly as other allied healthcare professions. This study will review the current challenges and opportunities for HT and HT education in the United States.

A qualitative study of the status of the profession was conducted to determine what challenges and opportunities the profession of HT currently has and how the profession can meet those challenges and opportunities. The study sample was recruited from current and former members of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). A total of 27 interviews were conducted between November 2019 and January 2020. Six main themes were identified from the interviews: Current State of the Profession, AHTA Operations and Structure, Education/Credentialing Opportunities, Funding/Job Opportunities, Public Awareness/Networking, and Research Opportunities.

Comments indicated the future of the profession is dependent on several factors including increasing awareness, collaboration, funding, educational opportunities, diversity, and research.

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