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.
|Education||No formal requirements, only on-the-job training, with potential to earn an optional certification|
|Job Skills||Self-motivated, physically fit and able to work alone or in small teams|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$30,420 for grounds maintenance workers|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||11% increase for grounds maintenance workers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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 landscape design careers. Gardeners can also supervise landscaping installation businesses after meeting state requirements to earn contractors' licenses.
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 that they have vehicles and clean driving records.
Career and Economic Outlook
Jobs for grounds maintenance workers are expected to grow by 11% from 2016 to 2026, 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 $30,420 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Alternate Career Options
Other careers in this field include:
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 2016-2026 was about as fast as average at 6%. They earned a median annual wage of $68,230 in 2018, according to the BLS.
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. A decline in employment of 2% was predicted for this occupation by the BLS from 2016-2026. In 2018, these professionals earned a median wage of $27,460 per year, the BLS reported.