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Greenhouse Operator

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

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

  • 8254: Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers

2006 NOC-S

  • I014: Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers

2011 NOC

  • 0822: Managers in horticulture

2016 NOC

  • 0822: Managers in horticulture

2021 NOC

  • 80021: Managers in horticulture

2023 OaSIS

  • 80021.00: Managers in horticulture
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
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

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.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Nursery and Greenhouse Operators and Managers

2006 NOC: 8254

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests


Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
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.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Managers in horticulture

2016 NOC: 0822

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 32 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Dec 03, 2021 and May 20, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Supervise staff in planting, transplanting, feeding and spraying
Construction Specialization: Organized
Construction Specialization: Team player
Tasks: Establish and maintain required environment
Construction Specialization: Initiative
Tasks: Establish work schedules
Tasks: Hire, train and supervise staff
Tasks: Organize and direct greenhouse and nursery operations
Construction Specialization: Judgement
Tasks: Order materials and stock
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary

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.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2017
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser

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

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. There are 2 types of dispensers in Alberta:

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

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Pesticide Applicator and Dispenser.

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 an above-average annual growth of 3% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 16 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

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

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2017

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

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Managers in horticulture

2016 NOC: 0822
Average Wage
Per Hour
Average Salary
Per Year
Average Hours
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 0822 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.83 $52.45 $33.94 $34.97
Overall $28.08 $55.00 $39.44 $36.06
Top $28.08 $57.69 $40.75 $35.08

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

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.

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