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Career and Education Opportunities for Greenhouse Assistants in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for greenhouse assistants in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa area. There are currently 2,270 jobs for greenhouse assistants in Iowa and this is projected to grow 2% to about 2,300 jobs 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 $9 hourly or $20,380 yearly on average in Iowa 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 Iowa, and not quite as good as the overall Farming category nationally.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Cedar Rapids area, including one within twenty-five miles of Cedar Rapids where you can get a degree to start your career as a greenhouse assistant. Greenhouse assistants usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so 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 Cedar Rapids include:

  • Agricultural Equipment Operator. Drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. May perform tasks, such as crop baling or hay bucking. May operate stationary equipment to perform post-harvest tasks, such as husking, shelling, and ginning.
  • Animal Breeder. Breed animals, including cattle, or pet birds. Select and breed animals according to their genealogy, characteristics, and offspring. May require a knowledge of artificial insemination techniques and equipment use. May involve keeping records on heats, birth intervals, or pedigree.
  • Farm Labor Contractor. Recruit, hire, and supervise seasonal or temporary agricultural laborers for a fee. May transport, house, and provide meals for workers.
  • Food Grader. Grade, sort, or classify unprocessed food and other agricultural products by size, weight, or condition.
  • Forestry Conservation Worker. Under supervision, perform manual labor necessary to develop, maintain, or protect forest, forested areas, and woodlands through such activities as raising and transporting tree seedlings; combating insects, pests, and diseases harmful to trees; and building erosion and water control structures and leaching of forest soil. Includes forester aides, seedling pullers, and tree planters.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Greenhouse Assistant Training

Kirkwood Community College - Cedar Rapids, IA

Kirkwood Community College, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52406-2068. Kirkwood Community College is a large college located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,241 students. Kirkwood Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Agricultural Production Operations which graduated two and twenty-three students respectively in 2008.


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.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Cedar Rapids, Iowa photo by Davumaya

Cedar Rapids is located in Linn County, Iowa. It has a population of over 128,056, which has grown by 6.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Cedar Rapids, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cedar Rapids are valued at $103,900 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred ninety-nine new homes were built in Cedar Rapids, up from two hundred ninety-eight the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cedar Rapids are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 28.4% of Cedar Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cedar Rapids is 6.0%, which is less than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Cedar Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.0%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Seventh Day Church of God, Sevanth-Day Adventist Church and Hope Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Cedar Rapids. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Cedar Rapids is home to the Brucemore and the Admissions Office as well as Tomahawk Park and Noelridge Park. Shopping centers in the area include Mays Shopping Center, Lindale Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Shopping Center. Visitors to Cedar Rapids can choose from Howard Johnson, Marriott Cedar Rapids and Clarion Hotel & Convention Center for temporary stays in the area.