Career Definition of a Groundskeeper
Groundskeepers are responsible for taking care of gardens and lawns and may specialize in taking care of synthetic grass called turfgrass. Groundskeepers make sure that grass, trees, plants and shrubs are aesthetically pleasing by cutting, trimming, watering and landscaping. Some groundskeepers lay mulch and use chemicals to control weed and insect populations in order to prevent deterioration.
|Education||Often on-the-job training, or completion of a technical school program|
|Job Skills||Understanding of the tools and procedures, and ability to work independently|
|Average Salary (2018)*||$30,940 (landscapers and groundskeepers)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||11% increase for landscapers and groundskeepers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many groundskeepers receive on-the-job training, but many employers prefer that prospective applicants have some training and education from a college or vocational school. However, many entry-level positions only require a high school diploma or equivalent. While in school, students will take classes in landscaping, horticulture, biology and botany.
Groundskeepers must know how to use power tools and lawn mowers, as well as be familiar with rakes, hoes and spades. It's essential that groundskeepers have a strong understanding of water systems, and know the amount of water that different lawns and plants need. Some groundskeepers work independently and need to know how to repair and maintain equipment, such as sharpening hedges and replacing parts on tools and mowers. They must be able to keep up with their clients' demands and depending on the size of their grounds, they may have to work closely with other groundskeepers.
Economic and Career Outlook
Groundskeepers can find employment anywhere there are yards and land with trees, lawn, flowers and shrubs. Opportunities are available at gardens, conservatories, parks, cemeteries, golf courses and sports fields, as well as larger private residences. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of grounds maintenance workers was expected to increase 11% from 2016-2026, which was faster than average growth compared to other occupations. Landscaping and groundskeeping workers earned an average yearly salary of $30,940 in 2018.
Alternate Career Options
Other options to consider in this career field include:
Usually having a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture, along with licensing in most states, these professionals plan the landscaping for areas like parks and campuses, in addition to the yards of private homes. The BLS projected the average employment growth of 6%, from 2016-2026 for these positions. In 2018, the BLS also reported their annual mean wage as $73,160.
Forest and Conservation Worker
These workers, who function under the direction of conservation technicians and foresters, strive to improve the quality of forests, through development, maintenance and protection. Jobs may often be secured with just a high school education, and then the necessary skills are learned while on the job. A job decline of 2% was expected from 2016 through 2026, according to the BLS. An annual mean salary of $31,320 was earned by these workers in 2018.