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Online Turf Management Degrees: Program Info

Online Associate and Bachelor of Science degrees in turf management, also called turfgrass science, are offered through several schools. There are also individual classes in such related fields as soil science and horticulture.

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Essential Information

Turfgrass managers are in charge of lawns on golf courses, athletic fields, parks or sod farms. They may also be responsible for trees and gardens on these sites. They must thoroughly understand soil, grass and plant sciences as well as the interrelationships between these elements. Turfgrass managers may also plan and supervise projects, handle finances or train other employees.

Several schools offer online associate's and bachelor's degree programs in turfgrass management. While much of the program can be completed through distance learning, some on-site, hands-on work will probably be required.

While a turfgrass manager does not have to be licensed from the state in order to work, certification from a professional organization may increase employability. These designations are usually obtained through a combination of experience and the completion of continuing education courses. Certifications may be necessary for certain positions, such as golf course superintendent.

Overview of Associate of Science in Turf Management

The associate degree in turf management is geared towards those candidates already working in the field, who want to advance their careers. Online associate's degree programs usually correspond to on-campus calendars, and students may set their own schedule within that time frame. Programs are taught fully online through lectures, discussions and interactive case study analysis. A computer with high-speed Internet access is required, along with an up-to-date browser. Plug-ins, like Adobe Acrobat or Flash Player, can be downloaded for free from the Web.

List of Typical Turf Management Courses

Core classes focus on components of lawn care. There are also general education classes built into the program, including English composition, biology and ethics.

Introduction to Turfgrass Course

Online students learn about the biological structure of turfgrass. The different species of grasses used for athletic fields, lawns and parks in addition to the environmental adaptations of each are explored.

Introduction to Soils Course

The characteristics of soils and their effects on turf are the focus of this online course. The impact of human culture, land use, the environment and plant growth are discussed.

Management of Insect Pests Course

This class presents information on beneficial and harmful insects, including how to manage them in both warm- and cool-season grasses.

Overview of Bachelor of Science in Turf Management

Students in the bachelor's degree program gain an advanced understanding of plant health and pathology, weed and insect pest control as well as soils and irrigation. In addition to online work, they do a local, supervised internship to acquire field experience.

Program Information and Requirements

While most classes in a bachelor's degree program are offered online, students may be required to take some courses locally, on-site. Technical program requirements include a computer with high-speed Internet, an up-to-date Web browser, word processing software and a printer capable of printing graphics. Downloadable plug-ins are free on the Web.

List of Typical Turf Management Courses

The bachelor's degree curriculum includes the same turfgrass classes as in the associate's program, plus more advanced courses. In addition to courses in general education and business management, courses in weather forecasting, biology and organic chemistry enhance the bachelor's turfgrass curriculum.

Turfgrass Nutrition Course

The focus if this class is on the biology of grass and how it receives nutrition. Enhancing health and growth through the use of mineral-balanced soil and fertilizers is discussed.

Management of Turfgrass Disease Course

Students learn about the pathogens affecting both cool- and warm-season grasses and how to control them.

Sports Turfgrass Course

The environmental and cultural advantages of grassy areas are considered, along with the importance of having grass with the right surface and consistency for various sports.

Career Information for Graduates

Turfgrass managers have employment opportunities in a wide range of lawn care settings and in related fields, like landscape design. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (, there were 217,900 turf managers employed in 2008 and employment was expected to grow at a faster than average rate of 15% through 2018. The median hourly wage for turf managers was $19.19 in May 2008.

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