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Gardener: Job Description & Career Info

There are generally no formal education requirements for entering the field of gardening, and most gardening professionals receive on-the-job training. Some state contractors' associations offer optional landscape technician certification. Gardeners are also referred to as landscape workers, landscape technicians or grounds maintenance workers.

Career Description of a Gardener

Gardening professionals work to improve and maintain the beauty of landscaped environments. Gardeners both install landscapes and maintain the appearance of existing grounds. Gardening professionals work for landscaping contractors, homeowners and owners of commercial real estate.

EducationNo formal requirements. On-the-job training, with potential to earn an optional certification
Job SkillsSelf-motivated, physically fit, and able to work alone or in small teams
Median Salary (2015)$25,610 for grounds maintenance workers
Job Outlook (2014-2024)6% increase for grounds maintenance workers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Gardeners may come from diverse backgrounds and there are no formal education requirements for entering the field, although some employers prefer to hire candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent. Many state landscaping associations offer optional landscape technician certification, according to Landscape Online. Gardening professionals can earn bachelor's degrees in landscape architecture to transition into a landscape design career. Gardeners can also supervise landscaping installation businesses after meeting state requirements to earn contractor's licenses.

Skills Required

Gardeners generally work alone or in small teams and must be self-motivated. The physical nature of the work demands fitness and agility. Many gardening professionals are responsible for providing their own transportation to different client locations, requiring they have vehicles and clean driving records.

Career and Economic Outlook

Jobs for grounds maintenance workers are expected to grow by 6% from 2014 to 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Demand is fueled by new construction and the increasing trend for aging and busy households to hire help for domestic tasks. Grounds maintenance workers earned a median annual wage of $25,610 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Alternate Career Options

Other careers in this field include:

Landscape Architect

These architects design and plan land areas for homes, parks, campuses and other public spaces. A bachelor's degree in landscape architecture is usually necessary to earn the licensing required in most states to use the title of 'landscape architect'. Expected job growth, according to the BLS from 2014-2024, was fast as average at 5%. They earned a mean annual wage of $68,600, according to the BLS in 2015.

Forest and Conservation Worker

With a high school diploma and on-the-job training, these workers maintain, develop and protect forests while supervised by forest and conservation technicians or foresters. Slower-than-average job expansion of 4% was predicted for this occupation by the BLS from 2014-2024. In 2015, these professionals earned an average of $29,860 per year, the BLS reported.

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