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Career and Education Opportunities for Greenhouse Assistants in Chicago, Illinois

Greenhouse assistants can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 9,840 working greenhouse assistants in Illinois; this should shrink by 1% to about 9,740 working greenhouse assistants in the state by 2016. In general, greenhouse assistants work in nursery facilities or at customer location planting, cultivating, and transplanting trees, shrubs, or plants.

Greenhouse assistants earn about $10 per hour or $22,280 yearly on average in Illinois and about $8 hourly or $17,960 yearly on average nationally. Incomes for greenhouse assistants are not quite as good as in the overall category of Farming in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Farming category nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a greenhouse assistant, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. The most common level of education for greenhouse assistants is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become a greenhouse assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Greenhouse Assistant

Greenhouse Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, greenhouse assistants work in nursery facilities or at customer location planting, cultivating, and transplanting trees, shrubs, or plants.

Greenhouse assistants plant and water plants, shrubs, and trees, using hand tools and gardening tools. They also inspect plants and bud ties to gauge quality. Finally, greenhouse assistants clean work areas, and maintain grounds and landscaping.

Every day, greenhouse assistants are expected to be able to lift, push and move large and heavy objects. They need to use lower back and abdominal strength. It is also important that they twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done.

It is important for greenhouse assistants to dip cut flowers into disinfectant, count them into bunches, and place them in boxes to ready them for storage and shipping. They are often called upon to move containerized shrubs and trees, using wheelbarrows or tractors. They also harvest plants, and transplant or pot and label them. They are sometimes expected to haul and spread topsoil, fertilizer and other materials to condition soil, using wheelbarrows or carts and shovels. Somewhat less frequently, greenhouse assistants are also expected to fill growing tanks with water.

Greenhouse assistants sometimes are asked to tie and bunch flowers, plants and trees; wrap their roots; and pack them into boxes to fill orders. They also have to be able to trap and destroy pests such as moles and mice, using pesticides And finally, they sometimes have to regulate greenhouse conditions, and indoor and outdoor irrigation systems.

Like many other jobs, greenhouse assistants must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Farm Labor Contractor. Recruit, hire, and supervise seasonal or temporary agricultural laborers for a fee. May transport, house, and provide meals for workers.
  • Livestock Farmer. Attend to live farm, ranch, or aquacultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, and bees. Attend to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, and honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, castrating, branding, de-beaking, weighing, and loading animals. May maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Greenhouse Assistant Training

Joliet Junior College - Joliet, IL

Joliet Junior College, 1215 Houbolt Rd, Joliet, IL 60431-8938. Joliet Junior College is a large college located in Joliet, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,088 students. Joliet Junior College has an associate's degree program in Agricultural Production Operations which graduated twelve students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Arborist / Municipal Specialist: This credential was developed by the ISA and the Society of Municipal Arboriculture for those involved in managing the complex aspect of trees in an urban environment.

For more information, see the International Society of Arboriculture website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.