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Become an Apartment Groundskeeper: Education and Career Roadmap

In this video, you'll learn about the requirements to become an apartment groundskeeper. You'll learn about the job description, and discover some things needed to start a career in apartment groundskeeping.

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Should I Become an Apartment Groundskeeper?

Apartment groundskeepers maintain the lawns, bushes and trees of housing facilities to ensure their eye appeal. They also perform minor repairs, such as fixing fences and maintaining sidewalks. Most use power tools, like lawn mowers or leaf blowers, to ensure the property is well-maintained. Larger complexes usually employ teams of groundskeepers; however, smaller apartment buildings may only have one person caring for the entire unit.

Groundskeepers must use extreme caution when working with various types of groundskeeping machinery. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), grounds maintenance workers experience a higher than average rate of accidents and illnesses than individuals in other occupations.

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Career Requirements

Education Required None required, though some employers look for workers with formal education in such areas as horticulture
Licensure Licensure is required for groundskeepers who work with pesticides
Experience On-the-job training is provided; advancement is commensurate with experience
Key Skills Ability to work independently, experience with power tools and machinery, physical stamina
Salary (2014) $24,290 (median salary for all landscaping and groundskeeping workers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Learn About Local Trees and Plants

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a major portion of job duties include planting and maintaining an apartment complex's lawns, flowers, bushes and trees. Many employers provide on-the-job training for basic plant maintenance. Conducting some additional research about how water, pesticides and environmental issues affect plant life may help groundskeepers be more effective at keeping the grounds looking nice year around.

Success Tip:

  • Consider formal training. Although a formal college degree in landscaping or horticulture is not required for a position, the BLS reports that individuals could gain the job-related knowledge they need by taking extended education courses like composting, drip irrigation systems or tree grafting. Some universities also host free or low-cost community seminars that provide training in lawn maintenance and native plant care.

Step 2: Get Experience with Power Tools

According to O*NET Online, groundskeepers use various types of power tools and landscaping equipment, including lawn mowers, chain saws, electric hedge clippers and leaf blowers. Many of these tools can cause severe injury, so users need to learn proper safety procedures, such as wearing ear and eye protection. Individuals may also need to know how to repair power tools and small engines.

Step 3: Obtain Basic Handyman Skills

Besides maintaining plant life, the BLS states that many groundskeepers perform minor repairs that some would consider handyman work. Some examples include fixing broken electrical sockets, patching holes in walls or painting over graffiti. Oftentimes, groundskeepers also have to maintain water features, including pools, ponds and fountains. They also perform routine maintenance on shared spaces within the complex, like playground equipment and barbecues.

Success Tip:

  • Look into handyman training. Obtaining handyman training from formal classes or directly from prior job experience, such as working for a plumber or carpenter, may provide the knowledge necessary to perform simple repairs.

Step 4: Acquire Necessary Licenses

Some states require that groundskeepers who spray pesticides be licensed, according to the BLS. To pass a licensing exam, individuals need to understand how to use equipment safely and spray around people and animals without creating a health hazard. Groundskeepers are tested on the appropriate usage of pesticides.

Step 5: Improve Your People Skills

Experienced apartment groundskeepers can advance in the field by becoming supervisors or crew leaders. These positions typically require good communication and organizational skills.

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