AHTA Professional Registration Policies and Procedures

The American Horticultural Therapy Association recognizes and registers horticultural therapists through a voluntary professional registration program. The designation Horticultural Therapist-Registered, HTR, ensures professional competencies have been achieved based on standardized academic requirements and professional training.

Applications for Professional Registration are accepted for review when all requirements for registration have been completed and upon receipt of a complete application packet.

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Education Requirements
Internship Requirements
Academic Coursework
Professional Registration Process

Education Requirements

A. Academic Requirements

A baccalaureate degree is the baseline requirement for professional registration.  

An advanced degree in a horticulture or human science field may be considered in fulfillment of the undergraduate requirements for professional registration. 

All coursework must have a passing grade of C minus (C-) or above or a pass for a pass/fail course.

B. Professional Registration Options

Option A: A baccalaureate degree in horticulture with a concentration in horticultural therapy.

Degree in horticulture with a concentration in horticultural therapy is defined as a horticulture degree that includes the required nine (9) semester credits in horticultural therapy coursework and the required twelve (12) credits in human science coursework.

If the degree program does not offer specific horticultural therapy courses, the nine (9) semester credits in horticultural therapy may be achieved through: 

  • AHTA Accredited Certificate Program. The horticultural therapy coursework completed through an accredited certificate program, if permitted by the academic institution, may be transferable credit to meet the degree requirements. The transferable credits must be documented on the official transcript.

OR

  • Independent Study. A college credit course titled Independent Study may be considered a substitute for, or an equivalent to, an AHTA required horticultural therapy course. The independent study must be academic coursework reflective of the required course content in horticultural therapy, as identified in Section IV, and may not be hands-on or work experience.

Applicants applying under Option A are required to meet the internship or work-life experience requirement.

Option B: An equivalent baccalaureate degree.

An equivalent baccalaureate degree is defined as a degree in a field other than horticulture that includes the full 33 semester credits of specific required coursework as defined in Academic Coursework.
  • The required coursework may be in fulfillment of a degree or may be completed in addition to an existing degree.
  • All coursework must be for college credit and documented through college transcripts.
  • All horticultural therapy coursework taken through a certificate program must be from an AHTA accredited program.
Applicants applying under Option B are required to meet the internship or work-life experience requirement.

Option C: An applicant with a masters or doctoral degree in an approved plant science or human science field. 

An applicant with a masters or doctoral degree in an approved plant science or human science field is exempt from the undergraduate AHTA coursework requirements in their major. 

  • Approved plant science: Horticulture, Horticultural Science, Plant Physiology, Plant Science, Floriculture
  • Approved human science: Therapeutic Recreation, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Social Work, Counseling, Psychology, Rehabilitation Counseling

An applicant is required to complete the three (3) core courses plus one elective course identified in required coursework, a total of twelve (12) semester credits of undergraduate coursework in
a) human science if the advanced degree is in plant science or
b) plant science if the advanced degree is in human science.

  • All applicants applying under Option C must have the nine (9) semester credits in horticultural therapy coursework.

Applicants applying under Option C are required to meet the internship or work-life experience requirement.

C. Internship Requirement

All applicants must successfully complete the required 480-hour internship or to be exempt from the internship, meet the work experience criteria:

AHTA Internship: Refer to the AHTA Horticultural Therapy Internship Handbook for internship requirements and complete information.

Work Experience: An applicant may be exempt from the horticultural therapy internship requirement under the following criteria. The applicant has;
a) the equivalent of 2,000 hours work experience not to exceed a 2-year period,
b) the work experience is in a horticultural therapy program directly supervised by a registered horticultural therapist, and
c) the applicant and supervisor must be employees of the same organization.

A letter verifying dates and hours of employment must be provided and signed by the registered horticultural therapist supervisor.


D. Academic Coursework

Coursework may be a combination of semester and quarter credits. All coursework completed as quarter credits must equal the required semester credits in each subject area.

A course taken for less than three (3) semester credits in a subject area may be combined with another course in the same subject area to equal the minimum requirement of three (3) semester credits required in the subject area. Review the Quarter to Semester Conversion Table for additional information.

The AHTA Professional Registration Review Board does not preapprove courses. Refer to the Course Titles that Support the AHTA Core Curriculum Topic Areas for descriptions of approved course content to assist in course selection.

Required coursework
: The following coursework represents subject areas and not specific course titles:
 

a) Plant Science: Twelve (12) semester credits total in:

Three core required courses - a minimum of three (3) semester credits in each individual subject area:

  • Introduction to horticulture
  • Plant propagation
  • Pest and disease plant management

One elective course - a minimum of three (3) semester credits in one individual subject area:

  • General plant pathology
  • Greenhouse production/management
  • Nursery production/management
  • Landscape design
  • Plant materials
  • Soils

b) Human Science: Twelve (12) semester credits total in:

Three core required courses - a minimum of three (3) semester credits in each individual subject area:

  • General psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Human lifespan development

One elective course - a minimum of three (3) semester credits in one individual subject area:

  • Counseling theories
  • Aspects of disabilities and illnesses
  • Group dynamics
  • Principles of therapy
  • Human anatomy/physiology
  • Adult development and aging

c) Horticultural Therapy: Nine (9) semester credits total in:

  • Horticultural therapy overview, introduction, or fundamentals
  • Horticultural therapy program management
  • Horticultural therapy skills, techniques, or practice
  • Horticultural therapy methods and programming
  • Human issues in horticultural therapy, people-plant relationships

Horticultural Therapy Course Content: Horticultural therapy coursework completed as an independent study is required to cover the content areas as defined. The following subject areas do not represent actual course titles. A course may include additional topic areas.

1. Overview of the profession to include:
    1. Definition of horticultural therapy
    2. History of horticultural therapy
    3. Program types – horticultural therapy and therapeutic horticulture
    4. Introduction to the American Horticultural Therapy Association
    5. AHTA Code of Ethics and AHTA Standards of Practice
      • Brief overview of the professional registration process 

2. Disability groups, characteristics and considerations, to include:

    1. Psychological (e.g., mental illness, substance use, attention deficit)
    2. Physical (e.g., spinal injury, orthopedic, cerebral palsy)
    3. Sensory (e.g., vision, hearing, sensory processing)
    4. Developmental (e.g., intellectual, autism, Down syndrome)
    5. Disease (e.g., cancer, dementia, stroke) 

3. Program materials, tools, and techniques, to include:

    1. Client assessment, evaluation, and documentation
    2. Goals and objectives for horticultural therapy clients
    3. Horticultural activities and activity modification
    4. Plant materials for horticultural therapy programs
    5. Adaptive tools, equipment, and devices
    6. Accessible indoor/outdoor horticultural therapy area (including consultation, site assessment, installation, utilization, and evaluation)
    7. Therapeutic garden characteristics and universal design 
4. Program management, to include:
    1. Short- and long-term program plans
    2. Horticultural therapy program proposals
    3. Program budgets
    4. Horticultural therapist role in multi-disciplinary team
    5. Volunteer resources and management
    6. Program promotion
    7. Funding resources, grants, and funding proposals
    8. Horticultural therapy research methods, evaluation, and outcomes

The AHTA website lists colleges and universities that offer horticultural therapy as a degree option and lists AHTA accredited horticultural therapy certificate programs.


Professional Registration Process

A. Eligibility for Professional Registration

To be eligible for professional registration, an applicant is required to:

  • Be a member of AHTA as an Associate level One (1) or as an Associate Level Two (2) year 3.
  • Have a baccalaureate degree in horticulture with a concentration in horticultural therapy or an equivalent degree as defined in Professional Education requirements.
  • Complete all coursework requirements in plant science, human science, and horticultural therapy. Horticultural therapy coursework taken through a certificate program must be from an AHTA accredited program. Applicants with advanced degrees in a horticulture or human science field must meet the requirements defined in Professional Registration Academic requirements.
  • Have successfully completed the required 480-hour internship in horticultural therapy or meet the work experience criteria defined in the AHTA Internship Handbook.  

B. Application Process

Applications for professional registration is a combination of electronic and/or manual submission of materials. Electronic applications are preferred. Acceptable documents include a clean copy scanned in JPEG format or PDF document. It is the responsibility of the applicant to complete the process and verify that all materials have been received.

There are four components to complete an application for professional registration: 

  • application,
  • internship materials,
  • transcripts,
  • application fee.

Note: The Internship Record of Hours and the Internship Goals and Objectives documents are not required. Additional materials are not required and will not be reviewed or returned. Do not submit additional materials (i.e. emails, letters of reference, business documents, etc.).

Professional Registration Application - the form does not save information, please ensure you have all required documentation for submission. Only Associate Level One members are able to access the form.

Please be ready to submit:

  • Academic information (identifying schools who will be forwarding transcripts).  
  • Internship information including a completed Internship Performance Report and a copy of either a) the Internship Case Study or b) Long-term Project. OR  Internship work-experience option: a letter verifying dates and hours of employment signed by the registered horticultural therapist supervisor.  
  • Internship information may also be sent to the AHTA office as a PDF email attachment (Internship Performance Report and/or supporting materials, or verification of work-experience letter).
Note: Official transcripts are required for all coursework. Unofficial transcripts, or unsealed transcripts, will not be accepted.

Transcripts: Three options:
  1. Official transcripts may be mailed directly to AHTA from the educational institution.
  2. Official transcripts may be sent to the applicant and mailed unopened by the applicant to AHTA:
    • AHTA 
      2150 N 107th St.
      Suite 205
      Seattle, WA 98133
  3. Official transcripts may be sent as electronic transcripts directly to AHTA from the granting school. Email AHTA

Application Fee: Two options:

  1. Submit the application fee at the end of the online application process.
  2. Select the “Invoice Me” option at the end of the online application process. Upon receipt of the AHTA Invoice, return payment along with the invoice to the AHTA Office. 

Note: The application fee of $150.00 is nonrefundable. An application will not be processed until payment is received.

C. Application Review

Applications are reviewed and evaluated by the AHTA Professional Registration Review Board. The Review Board is composed of six reviewers.

  1. Applications are reviewed based on the academic and internship requirements.
  2. If there are any questions regarding the submitted coursework in the required subject areas, the applicant will be asked to provide the syllabus. The application will be held and will not be processed until this information is received.
  3. An incomplete application will not be processed. The AHTA Office will notify the applicant by email of the missing documentation. At that time, the applicant may submit the missing material or the application will be returned.
  4. Applications will be assessed within eight (8) weeks of submission. The AHTA Office will notify the applicant by letter of the Review Board’s decision and include a copy of the AHTA Professional Registration Review Board Summary Sheet.
  5. Applicants approved for professional registration are conferred the credential HTR, Horticultural Therapist – Registered, and will receive a Certificate of Professional Registration.
  6. One (1) copy of the application will be kept on file by AHTA for five (5) years. The AHTA Office maintains a record of the year the applicant was awarded or denied professional registration but does not keep an applicant’s file after five (5) years.

Applicants should keep a copy of their original application and supporting materials for their records.

D. Reapplication Requirements

Applicants that have been denied registration because they did not meet the standards have one (1) year from the date of notification to attain those standards and reapply.

  1. The AHTA Office will keep the original application on file. Individuals who reapply need only submit an addendum to their original application.
    1. Complete the online Addendum to Professional Registration Application.
    2. Transcripts, Internship Performance Report, or additional information identified on the Summary Sheet should be submitted via the Addendum to Professional Registration Application form by methods described above in Section I.B at the same time as submitting the Addendum.
  2. The Review Board Chair has the authority to accept or reject the reapplication based on prior recommendations of the Review Board. The AHTA Office will notify the applicant by letter of the Review Board’s decision and include a copy of the Summary Form.
  3. Applicants approved for professional registration are conferred the credential HTR, Horticultural Therapist – Registered, and will receive a Certificate of Professional Registration.
  4. The reapplication fee for this service is $35.00. 

E. Professional Registration Appeals

Applicants may appeal a decision of the Review Board within thirty (30) days of notification of their decision.

  1. The AHTA Executive Committee serves as the Registration Appeals Board.
  2. Appeals must be in writing and emailed to AHTA Office. Appeals should state the reason for appeal and state pertinent information.
  3. Applicants filing an appeal will be advised when an appeal review has been scheduled. Should the Appeals Board decide that there are grounds for an appeal, the application will be submitted to the Review Board for reconsideration.
  4. Any decision made by the Review Board at that time will stand. The AHTA Office will notify the appellant by letter of the Review Board’s decision and include a copy of the Summary Form.

F. Maintaining Professional Registration

Applicants granted professional registration are required to renew annually at the Professional level and must maintain their membership in good standing in order to use the professional designation HTR.

The professionally registered member is responsible for maintaining their membership. After three (3) months of a lapsed membership, a registrant must pay a reinstatement fee in addition to their annual membership dues to be reinstated.
  • The reinstatement fee for this service is $75.00.
  • Contact the AHTA Office to request an invoice to renew your membership and reinstate your professional registration.
After two (2) years of a lapsed membership, a registrant will be required to reapply for registration status.

G. Professional Registration Fees and AHTA Contact Information

 Fees are due and payable to AHTA upon application. Registration fees are nonrefundable. 

  • Registration Application Fee…………..........$150.00
  • Reapplication fee (within in 1 year)…….......$ 35.00
  • Reinstatement fee (after 3 months)…….......$ 75.00

Email registration appeals attention to: Professional Registration Appeals Board.

Email all professional registration correspondence to: [email protected].

Mail transcripts and/or invoice and payment attention to:
AHTA Professional Registration
2150 N 107th St. Suite 205
Seattle, WA 98133