Horticultural therapy education and training, based on Vancouver Island, BC:

Explore the fields of horticultural therapy (HT), therapeutic horticulture (TH), and nature-based therapy in an exciting inter-disciplinary program.

HT courses will appeal to healthcare professionals, educators and interpreters, horticulturists, landscape designers and others wishing to learn more about connecting people and plants; or to those exploring career opportunities in horticultural therapy and therapeutic horticulture.

Four courses, each of which can be taken independently, provide up to 160 hours of lively classroom instruction, field trips, and supervised study projects.


Courses in 2021:

For a short summary that is representative of the content of the four HT Certificate courses and information about courses that were available in the Autumn 2020 session, prior to the complications of Covid-19, please download the 2020 PDF file from the bottom of this page. 

Please note, information about new course and workshop offerings for 2021 will be published early in January 2021. If you wish to be added to  the distribution list for Ann's quarterly newsletter, which provides advance notice for upcoming events, please contact Ann at horticulture@catkingardens.ca. 

Frequently asked questions about horticultural therapy training - FAQ's:

Where are Horticultural Therapy Certificate classes held?

In recent years, horticulture and nature studies, design modules, and field trips were held at several different locations in Vancouver including the UBC Botanical Garden, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and local churches and community centres.

In the spring of 2020, Ann realized a long held dream of moving her practice and teaching locale from an urban to a rural setting. HT courses will resume in March 2021, with well-equipped indoor-outdoor classrooms and ready access to gardens and a native forest.  

Students explore typical indoor and outdoor settings in which TH, HT, or nature-based wellness programs might be offered and consider the potential for collaboration and partnerships for future program development.

Once registered, students receive a comprehensive list of agencies on Vancouver Island and in the Greater Vancouver area that provide public access to settings that offer TH/HT programs and/or therapeutic gardens. Also included are local habitat or conservation areas that provide opportunities to  explore the importance of access to nature and the natural landscape.

What about TH and HT programs for specific populations?

Content in each course focuses on evidence-based literature and examples of contemporary horticulture, gardening, and nature-based therapy programs that serve the needs of specific populations - locally, elsewhere in Canada, and around the world.

Hands-on activities explore adaptations that can be made for various horticulture, nature, floral, and botanical craft programs.

For those considering work as a horticultural therapist in a clinical setting, the Horticultural Therapy Techniques and The Practice of Horticultural Therapy courses include units on how to generate specific objectives and measurable outcomes for individual clients and various methods for documentation. These two courses are will be offered in the Autumn 2021 session.

What is included in each course fee?                                          

The course fee includes instruction; comprehensive, evidence-based research and reference materials specific to each course; TH/HT program planning, session planning, and assessment templates; and all plant material and other supplies required for hands-on TH activities.

The teaching team is led by Ann Kent HTM, a registered horticultural therapist.

Are statements of completion provided?

Yes. A detailed statement of completion is provided to assist those who are completing continuing education requirements for professional associations in horticultural therapy and related disciplines. The documentation is also helpful to those who apply for funding support to develop TH and HT programs.

A  Horticultural Therapy Certificate is provided following completion of requirements for all four courses. Courses in the Horticultural Therapy Professional Development Program adhere to the HT Core Skills & Knowledge - 2014 document published by the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA). Courses are eligible for up to 2.0 points toward professional registration with the CHTA. Please see the CHTA website or contact the CHTA administrator for current information about voluntary professional registration.

Ann is a professional member of the CHTA and the AHTA. All HT courses instructed by Ann abide by the CHTA's education and professional registration guidelines.

Where do students access funding to support their training in horticultural therapy?

Each year, several students indicate they have successfully accessed funding via the following sources:

  • professional development funds dispersed by the student's employer
  • job-training or skills upgrade funds available via an employee's union or trade association
  • federal and/or provincially managed job training funds
  • scholarships and awards from professional associations in related fields

How big are the classes?

Class size is limited to 10 but will change to a maximum of six students as long as we are dealing with Covid-19. Early application is advised to ensure placement and provide plenty of time to explore the pre-reading list and to complete preliminary assignments. For more detailed information about courses or for registration information, contact Ann at ann@catkingardens.ca.

Where can I find more information about therapeutic horticulture and horticultural therapy?

Start with the information and links provided on the Resources page. These will provide you with hours of exploration.

You are encouraged to follow and to contribute to the Horticultural Therapy Professional Development Program Facebook site, which tracks current research and articles of interest in TH and HT. This is a public Facebook site, anyone is welcome to follow it.

Is there a professional association for HT in Canada, or a local network group?

Nationally, the website of the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association provides information about association membership, horticultural therapy education programs, and the CHTA's annual conference.

Locally, networking is informal. In the Vancouver area and on Vancouver Island, volunteers have arranged for affiliation with the BC Council of Gardens Clubs as a group called Gardens That Heal. You can follow news of this group or post items of interest about therapeutic gardens and horticulture to its Facebook site - Gardens That Heal.

What about internships in horticultural therapy?

Horticultural Therapy internships, in several locations in Canada, are available to students who satisfy the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA) guidelines for education and training in horticultural therapy (HT).  An internship is 1000 hours and includes field work and written components. Membership in the CHTA is required.

Sites where Ann supervises HT internships require interns to complete a British Columbia Criminal Record check. During fall and winter months a flu shot may be mandatory. In most locations, HT interns serve as volunteers.

Placements for HT internships with Ann for 2020 and 2021 are fully subscribed. If you are a CHTA member seeking further information about internships, please check the internship page on the CHTA website at www.chta.ca/internships.htm

How might I transition to a career in TH or HT?

As the option for diploma or degree training in TH and HT does not exist in Canada at this time, most students add continuing education courses in TH and HT to academic training and work experience in horticulture or human service areas to acquire a new and specific adjunct skill set. Students enrolling in the HT Certificate courses have backgrounds in such fields as horticulture, teaching, social work, occupational therapy, nursing, and recreational therapy.

Most students are planning to develop new programs in TH or HT in settings where they are already employed. Some, who already have small businesses and/ or good entrepreneurial skill sets, plan to develop and offer TH and HT programs as independent contractors. Various options for employment, and the benefits and challenges of each, are explored in The Practice of Horticultural Therapy course.

Horticultural Therapy Certificate_2020_Vancouver Island.pdf