Growth Trends for Related Jobs
When you visit a golf course, park or other property with meticulously maintained lawns and landscaping, you might marvel at how beautiful everything looks and wonder how it got that way. In most cases, the bright green grass and perfectly trimmed shrubbery is the work of a groundsman or groundskeeper. Using in-depth knowledge of landscaping, they spend their days managing the upkeep of outdoor spaces to keep them both attractive and functional.
The groundskeeper or groundsman job description is focused primarily on the maintenance of their assigned areas. This can include picking up and disposing of garbage, watering and mowing grass, landscape design and turf management. Specific duties vary by employer. For example, groundskeepers who work for residential and commercial properties such as apartment complexes might focus on the upkeep of landscaped areas and keeping public areas such as walkways and parking lots clear of debris and safe. A groundsman who works for an athletic facility or golf course may have specialized duties that extend beyond cutting and watering the grass. These individuals are responsible for the condition and health of the grass, which often requires them to identify disease and other issues and take appropriate action. In addition, these groundskeepers may be charged with painting lines and logos, maintaining additional features such as sand traps on golf courses and managing artificial turf.
In some cases, groundsmen are also called upon to maintain specific features of the property, such as park benches, playground equipment, fountains and fences. These duties might include repairs, painting and cleaning.
Most entry-level groundskeeper jobs only require a high school diploma or equivalent, as on-the-job training is common. Usually, the only requirements are the ability to use equipment like lawn mowers, snow blowers and basic gardening tools. A willingness to work outside in all kinds of weather is also important.
For those who want to work in specialized areas or plan to move into advanced positions, an associate degree or a certificate in a related field is generally a requirement. Golf courses, for example, often look for candidates with education and training in turf management, while a landscape designer or horticulturist can often find work with parks, historical sites, resorts and other businesses with extensive gardens and lawns.
In some states, groundskeepers who apply pesticides or work with other chemicals may be required to have a license to use and dispose of these products. Licensing is based on an exam, and continuing education is required to maintain the license.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the majority of groundskeepers (44 percent) work for businesses or for companies that provide services to buildings and businesses. Another 22 percent are self-employed, typically as landscapers, while the government, recreation facilities and schools round out the employment options. The BLS also notes that the work can be physically demanding, and despite requirements to use protective gear when performing potentially dangerous tasks, the injury rate in this field is higher than average.
Years of Experience and Salary
The median groundsperson salary is $28,110 per year or $13.51 per hour, which means that 50 percent of groundskeepers earn less and 50 percent earn more than this figure. On the upper end of the scale, groundskeepers earn about $21 per hour.
Experience affects pay. A PayScale projection of pay per experience is as follows:
- 0-5 years: $27,000
- 5-10 years: $29.000
- 10-20 years: $35,000
- 20 + years: $39,000
Job Growth Trend
As demand for landscaping services from both homeowners and businesses increases, demand for groundskeepers is expected to increase. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a faster-than-average 11 percent rate of growth between now and 2026.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.
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