Skip to the main content
This website uses cookies to give you a better online experience. By using this website or closing this message, you are agreeing to our cookie policy. More information
Alberta Supports Contact Centre

Toll Free 1-877-644-9992


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted legislation and services. Information on this website may not reflect the current situation in Alberta. Please visit for up-to-date information about these impacts.

Greenhouse Operator

Greenhouse operators plan, organize and direct the activities of greenhouse staff who propagate, grow and market flowers and other plants or produce.

  • Avg. Salary $56,324.00
  • Avg. Wage $28.55
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand High
Also Known As


NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers (8254) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers (I014) 
  • 2011 NOC: Managers in horticulture (0822) 
  • 2016 NOC: Managers in horticulture (0822) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Greenhouse Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers

Interest in supervising staff in planting, transplanting, feeding and spraying stock; and in hiring staff and overseeing training, in setting work schedules and in determining types and quantities of stock


Interest in co-ordinating information to organize nursery and greenhouse operations; and in ordering materials such as fertilizer, garden and lawn care equipment, and other nursery and greenhouse accessories


Interest in providing information to customers on gardening and the care of trees, shrubs, flowers, plants and lawns

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Mar 31, 2017

Greenhouse operators run wholesale and retail horticultural firms ranging in size from small family businesses to operations employing over 50 people. They may deal with all kinds of plants and produce, or specialize in a particular type. Their duties and responsibilities therefore vary. But, in general, greenhouse operators:

  • determine the type and quantity of plants to grow or stock (for example, cut or potted flowers, bedding plants, vegetables, plant varieties)
  • determine the environmental conditions required to grow the selected plants and set planting and care schedules accordingly
  • design, install, maintain and program environmental control and irrigation systems
  • perform basic structural repairs to the greenhouse (for example, replacing panes of glass, vent motors or environmental control components)
  • co-ordinate and perform exterior greenhouse maintenance (for example, cleaning glass or other glazing and installing adequate drainage)
  • supervise staff in planting, transplanting, pruning, feeding and spraying plants
  • identify and control problems caused by insects, rodents, disease or nutritional deficiencies
  • ensure safe handling, use, storage and disposal of pesticides, in compliance with provincial and federal regulations
  • develop and implement pest management plans when needed
  • operate and maintain carbon dioxide generators, ultraviolet sterilizers, water treatment machines and related equipment
  • develop marketing plans
  • provide information about plant selection and care
  • order equipment and supplies
  • hire, train and supervise staff
  • prepare and adhere to budgets and maintain records
  • keep up to date regarding new technologies and techniques (for example, biological crop protection, water capture and recirculation systems, new plant varieties)
  • ensure compliance with applicable provincial and federal regulations regarding food safety.

In smaller operations, greenhouse operators also may do some of the hands-on work. They may:

  • prepare soil for planting and plant bulbs, seeds and cuttings
  • graft plants, transplant seedlings and rooted cuttings, and train and prune plants
  • remove weeds, spray plants with pesticides and apply fertilizers
  • position and regulate greenhouse irrigation systems
  • set up irrigation systems in soil-less growing media
  • maintain boilers, furnaces, electrical systems and fans
  • construct greenhouses and benches.
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Greenhouse operators usually work indoors in greenhouses and offices. In some situations, they also may work outdoors in shade houses. Their hours of work often are long and irregular, particularly in the spring and summer months. Those who work in greenhouses that operate on a year-round basis may experience different busy periods. The work can be hectic at times and satisfying customer needs can be stressful. Operators sometimes work with pest management products and need to use personal protective equipment (PPE) while doing so.

Pruning or picking at heights of up to 2 metres above the ground may be required.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Greenhouse operators need:

  • interest in working with plants
  • patience
  • attention to detail
  • manual dexterity and mechanical aptitude to deal with equipment
  • creative problem-solving skills
  • decision-making skills
  • computer skills to manage environmental control systems and inventory tracking
  • no severe allergies to plants, pollen, pesticides or other chemicals.

Those in retail operations also must be able to deal courteously and effectively with the public.

Greenhouse operators should enjoy directing the work of others, organizing greenhouse operations and providing information to customers.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017

In the past, many greenhouse operators worked their way up to supervisory positions by learning on the job and taking related courses. However, graduates of post-secondary education programs in horticulture generally have a better chance of advancing to supervisory and management positions. Computer skills are a definite asset.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

The Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association also offers short courses and workshops in horticulture.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser

Pesticide applicators use pesticides (chemicals) to control pests, such as weeds, diseases or destructive insects or animals, as part of their paid employment.

Pesticide dispensers sell and store pesticides as part of their paid employment.


Under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act [pdf] and Pesticide (Ministerial) Regulation [pdf], to apply a commercial-class pesticide such as insecticide, herbicide or fungicide you must be one of the following:

  • A commercial agriculturalist (farmer)
  • A certified pesticide applicator
  • Supervised by someone who is certified

To sell pesticides you must be a certified dispenser. The 2 types of dispensers in Alberta are:

  • Lawn and garden pesticide dispensers sell domestic-class pesticides
  • Commercial dispensers sell domestic-, commercial-, and restricted-class pesticides

What You Need

Certification for applicators and dispensers require successful completion of an exam. A preparatory course is available through home study materials or classroom tutorials.

Individuals may become certified in one or more applicator classes. For detailed official information, read about the pesticide applicator and dispenser certification requirements on the Government of Alberta website.

Working in Alberta

Pesticide applicator and dispensers who are certified by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for certification in Alberta if certified pesticide applicators and dispensers in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and the Government of Alberta website.

Contact Details

Alberta Environment and Parks
Government of Alberta
9th Floor, South Petroleum Plaza 9920 108 Street
Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2G8

Call: 780-538-6460
Toll-free within Alberta: 310-3773, then 780-538-6460
Toll-free outside Alberta: 780-944-0313

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Greenhouse operators may be self-employed or employed as greenhouse or garden centre managers. Most work in the wholesale or retail industry; some work for government departments or research centres.

Greenhouse operators generally start in junior positions, then work their way up or start their own businesses. Greenhouse positions may be full time, part time or seasonal. Advancement depends on aptitude, performance and the availability of supervisory positions. Opportunities for advancement beyond the greenhouse operator level are limited and require additional training in business and science.

Greenhouse operators are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 0822: Managers in horticulture. In Alberta, 90% of people employed in this classification work in the Agricultural [pdf] industry.

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Agricultural industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions)
  • size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 0822: Managers in horticulture occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.1% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 1 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Earnings for greenhouse operators vary considerably, particularly for those who are self-employed.

Managers in horticulture

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.00 $36.06 $24.65 $24.04
Overall $22.00 $38.98 $28.55 $26.83
Top $22.00 $40.00 $31.48 $30.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Agriculture and Related Technologies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2017

Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association website:

Government of Alberta, Agriculture and Forestry website:

Government of Alberta, Environment and Parks website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2017. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

Was this page useful?